AIA New Jersey Celebrates Trees for the Love of Wood This Arbor Day

April 27, 2018

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AIA New Jersey Celebrates Trees for the Love of Wood This Arbor Day


There may be no greater time in recent history when architects and designers should be as grateful for TREES!  Today is Arbor Day, a holiday designed to remind us to replenish and plant trees. Wood is one of the HOTTEST topics in the construction industry right now with shiplap covering every imaginable surface!  Even clients who don’t worship Joanna Gaines are asking for wood plank walls, ceilings, soffits and floors and millwork fashioned out of planks of reclaimed wood. Furniture manufacturers are embracing it, as well. Clients acceptance and even drive for using reclaimed wood in their projects is a fantastic trend that designers should encourage. In most cases, using reclaimed wood helps out the environment on the front end and the back.

Photo credit: Stikwood







Photo credit: Fastner and Fixings Magazine




More Earth-shattering are the innovative structural trends we are seeing in wood construction. Longer spans, taller walls, and faster construction are making wood a new choice for large, open, interior spaces. Engineered wood products such as glued laminated timber can be manufactured to achieve spans as long as 100 feet and walls up to 20 feet.  Cross-laminated timber is allowing for wood buildings up to 8 stories tall to be built, where permitted. Optimum Value Engineering or advanced framing is allowing for buildings to be built using less framing with the same structural integrity, reducing material cost and providing more space for insulation. Wood is more readily available than other materials, protecting the project schedule. From a resiliency standpoint, wood outperforms other materials in seismic events. From a labor standpoint, wood construction generally costs less than steel or masonry and can be handled by a less specialized crew. Wood construction also offers a more environmentally friendly life cycle than steel or concrete with regard to embodied energy, carbon footprint, and pollution. (Source: American Wood Council)

Photo credit: LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington

Photo Credit: @1767designs

And what about the beauty of wood?  It is warm, in both color and temperature. Wood makes its’ inhabitants feel comfortable and welcome. Wood can make a space smell wonderful. The texture, color, and character of every plank is special and unique. There is an unlimited range of ways to finish wood.  It connects us with nature, history, and tradition. It is renewable, sustainable, strong and versatile.

Photo credit: Francesco Lagnese for House Beautiful


As part of our celebration of Arbor Day, AIA New Jersey notes to always specify or source materials that have been harvested using sustainable practices. Look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification. Consideration must be made for regeneration and the long-term health and condition of our forests. Design site plans that respect and preserve the existing trees on the site. And what can you do today to embrace the good of wood? Plant a tree with your friends, family or community. Remind them that every tree provides a home for animals, shade for the earth, cleans the air, provides oxygen, stores carbon, stabilizes the soil and makes our world a more beautiful and comfortable place.


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Happy Arbor Day from AIA New Jersey



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