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Architects and builders are being encouraged to use more wood because of its reported ability to sequester carbon, a key sustainability issue. Yet globally, forests are being destroyed faster than ever. How does an increasing demand for wood relate to forest loss and what are the implications for biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and planetary health? How can one differentiate ‘good wood’ from ‘bad’? How can we achieve a truly sustainable forest economy and what is the role of wood in the circular economy? Part 1 of this series looks at tropical woods and the role of reclaimed lumber; Part 2 will consider North American woods and mass timber.
Image: Tim Keating, Earthbilt
Tim Keating, Owner, Earthbilt Deep Green
Tim Keating directed Rainforest Relief (RR) for over 25 years, focused on the impact of the production of materials and products on tropical forests and old-growth forests in general. RR was a key group in compelling The Home Depot and Lowe’s to develop wood purchasing guidelines and drastically reduce their sales of wood products originating from endangered forests. RR also compelled the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to end the use of rainforest woods for boardwalks and benches. Today, through his company Earthbilt, Keating consults on sourcing, specifying, and building with truly sustainable woods and alternative materials. Earthbilt also works with communities to increase participation in, and decrease contamination of, residential and commercial recycling streams. Keating is currently writing the forthcoming book Slow Wood™: An Action Agenda for a Sustainable Forest Economy. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Stockton University.
Klaas Armster, Owner, Armster Reclaimed Lumber
Klass Armster founded Armster Reclaimed Lumber Company, the largest wood reclaimer in the Northeast US, in 2002, and has owned and operated it since. In 2019 he co-authored Reclaimed Wood: A Field Guide (Solomon, Alan, Armster, Klaas). He has supplied and advised projects requiring reclaimed and sustainable wood all over the world with a heavy regional focus. Some of the projects have included the Highline, the Park Avenue Armory, Central Park playgrounds, the World’s Fair in Milan, and dozens of others, utilizing material from varied sources including barns, factories, sunken logs and pilings, wooden tanks, untreated utility poles, ocean cargo dunnage, and many others. Armster holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University.
Clare Miflin, AIA, RA, LEED AP, Founder, ThinkWoven; Co-chair, AIANY Committee on the Environment
Clare Miflin is an architect and systems thinker with over 20 years of experience designing buildings to Passive House, LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge and AIA COTE Top Ten standards. While acknowledging the importance of rigorous metrics, she believes that inspiration, collaboration, intuition and vision are vital for humanity to thrive. Miflin led the development of the AIANY Zero Waste Design Guidelines through a multidisciplinary collaborative process. The Guidelines serve as resource and inspiration to help cities develop circular material loops. They are being disseminated and implemented through the Center for Zero Waste Design. Miflin has also founded a consultancy, ThinkWoven, to develop strategies that weave urban systems into ecosystems. Miflin is co-chair of the AIANY Committee on the Environment, a board member of BiomimicryNYC, and a member of NYC’s Living Building Collaborative.
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AIANY Committee on the Environment