Green design and architecture are becoming the norm across building sectors around the world, and for good reason. According to the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) industrial processes are responsible for 15 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, which is in large part due to the production and consumption of building materials like steel and cement. In order to decrease these numbers, ideally creating a zero carbon future, the green building movement has begun adopting the use of renewable, sustainably sourced materials – like wood. Research from the Journal of Sustainable Forestry states the construction industry has the potential to decrease global carbon emissions by up to 31 percent by simply using wood in new projects. For starters, forests are natural “carbon sinks” that absorb carbon dioxide and release the oxygen back into the atmosphere. Though increasing wood harvesting seems counterproductive from an environmental perspective, it actually provides greater environmental return. Wood harvesting is a temporary process that promotes sustainable forest management and reduces the risk of forest fires. It is only when forests are cleared for civic development or farmland that these natural resources are permanently lost, which is usually the case for tropical rainforests.
green design, minneapolis

Fjallraven storefront, Minneapolis

As the demand for green building materials grows – spending is expected to rise to $86.6 billion by 2017 – it’s also profitable for builders to consider wood from a logistical standpoint. For example, Ipe, a popular tropical hardwood from South and Central America, takes 80-100 years to grow. In comparison, sustainable alternatives, such as modified pine, mature in just 30 years and take only three days to modify. Norway-based Kebony is an example of a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood that provides an accelerated supply chain while maintaining comparable aesthetics and performance. Since its U.S. launch in 2013, Kebony wood has been applied to numerous North American projects, proving that wood incorporation could be the next wave to break in the green design movement. Fjallraven Storefront – Minneapolis, Minnesota The Swedish outdoor retailer initially chose Kebony cladding for its new storefront because it aligns with the store’s commitment to the outdoors. Additionally, its ability to withstand harsh winter conditions such as snow, sleet and salt made it the perfect choice.  
Amanyara Resort

Amanyara Resort Beach Huts

Amanyara Resort Beach Huts – Turks & Caicos Islands Due to the hut’s tropical, beachfront location, the architects sought a material that could endure both the island climate and frequent beach erosion. The luxury resort chose Kebony wood as the principal building material for its dual-use beach bar and surf shop. They knew it would also improve the hut’s aesthetics over time with the development of its silver patina.
Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park

Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park

Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park – Queens, New York Set upon panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, Hunter’s Point South used Kebony wood to construct both the deck and benches to help transform the 30 acres of post-industrial waterfront into a new model of urban ecology.
Tommy Bahama, Honolulu

Tommy Bahama Restaurant Bar & Store, Honolulu

Tommy Bahama Restaurant Bar & Store – Honolulu, Hawaii Kebony wood was used as flooring for 10,000 square feet of dining space and an exquisitely crafted spiral staircase. The material appears as a natural fit in the store’s indoor/outdoor atmosphere and island vibe and will not splinter or get too hot in the Hawaiian heat, making it the perfect material to host the store’s guests. Editor's note: Learn more about how you can submit a guest posting to this site. Image credits: Kebony  

About The Author

Sam Bacon

Sam Bacon is the general manager at Pine River Group, the North American distributor of Kebony, a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood. Kebony’s technology permanently modifies sustainable softwoods species, so the resulting product performs to the level of a hardwood. Kebony is a beautiful and long-lasting, having been used in several projects – from decking to marinas to cladding – around the world.