Put simply, logging is not a carbon solution. All told, the logging industry is the largest fossil fuel emitter in our state. In 2016, the Oregon Global Warming Commission reported that the wood products sector itself contributed 50% more pollution than the transportation and energy sector combined.
Illustrations: Above, the symbol for the Embedawatt, as envisioned by AARCH staff; and below a Medium Sized House Energy Chart courtesy of Jerry Jenkins (from Climate Change in the Adirondacks).
Assuming the new house is more energy efficient than an existing house, it still takes an average of 40 years for an energy efficient new house to recover the energy and carbon expended in the construction of the house (Empty Homes Agency, 2008).
Because of the Upfront Carbon emissions from building, groups like the World Green Building Council have suggested that we have to “question the need to use materials at all, considering alternative strategies for delivering the desired function, such as increasing utilisation of existing assets through renovation or reuse.” They also noted that we have to “prioritize materials which are low or zero carbon, responsibly sourced, and which have low lifecycle impact in other areas.”