Healthy Homes And The Benefits Of Building With Solid Timber

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Aug 30, 2017
Healthy homes NZ

In our last blog we discussed why condensation forms and the practical steps you can take to prevent it in your home. This time we will take a closer look at why solid timber homes are naturally healthy homes for you and your family.

The word ‘natural’ is used far too liberally by companies promoting their products these days, but in the case of timber it’s not a misnomer. This is because solid timber homes are ‘alive’ – that is to say, by timber’s very nature it harmonises with its environment to create a stable natural balance of humidity and warmth, as it would if it were still in the forest from which it came. Solid timber ‘breathes’, by which it absorbs and repels vapour, taking the edge off both high and low humidity levels, creating a warm and healthy comfort zone to live in. Think of it as an organic air-conditioning system!

Timber homes NZ

The contrast with the naturally ‘alive’ properties of solid timber is most apparent when comparing it with synthetic man-made building materials like concrete and steel, all of which are inert – meaning they are chemically inactive, or not ‘alive’. Inert materials don’t ‘breathe’ like solid timber; they have no natural relationship with the air or environment around them, so efforts to create healthy homes with inert building materials require significantly more artificial insulation and expensive architectural innovations to reach the same level of warmth and comfort that a solid timber home provides naturally.

A telling indicator of solid timber’s natural capacity for warmth and comfort compared with synthetic building materials, is that it’s thermal mass results in the storing and exchanging of heat up to 2.5 times that of concrete per kilo. Solid timber’s high insulated thermal mass means very little energy is required to heat, cool and ventilate a solid timber walled building. This superior energy performance of solid timber relative to basic timber frame construction was studied and confirmed by a landmark work in 2007 conducted right here in Christchurch, at Lincoln University. The study found that the energy savings offered by solid timber are as great as a massive 24%!

Building healthy homes with solid timber

Solid timber ‘healthy homes’ are better for the environment

Any discussion on the health benefits for you and your family of choosing a solid timber home wouldn’t be complete without mention of the environmental benefits. Solid timber buildings uniquely reduce CO2 in the atmosphere because the timber stores CO2 as part of its natural composition. And the replanted trees following harvest continue to produce life-giving oxygen, while removing and storing more CO2 from the atmosphere. The result is a home which actually has negative net CO2 emissions – lower than any other building material.

To enquire about building your own healthy solid timber home, contact us today.

For further reading, visit our Solid Timber Homes page, or view our solid timber house plans here.