In 2005 WWF published the report 'Window of Opportunity', outlining the environmental and economic benefits of specifying timber window frames to help drive a better future for global forests, and could make the difference between losing them, or keeping them standing and benefitting both people and nature.
More than a decade on, concerns about chemicals in our environment and the rising tide of plastic waste continue. So what does more recent research tell us about the use of wood for windows, does it still rank as the better choice?
In A Clear Choice: A briefing on the environmental performance of PVCu vs. wood windows, the Wood Window Alliance has reviewed new evidence to see what’s changed. It concludes that engineered wood products use wood very efficiently and can be manufactured from fast-growing, underused and less expensive trees species.
WWF is encouraging specifiers and buyers of windows to choose wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This guarantees the wood has been sourced from a well-managed forest or other controlled wood source, and ensures that the timber is legal and not from a controversial source.
WWF-UK is working to increase the availability of wood in the UK from well-managed, certified forests, through the Global Forest & Trade Network. Participants of the GFTN have committed to phasing out illegal timber from their supply chain and to increasing the amount of credibly certified material they source.
Julia Young, GFTN Manager at WWF-UK, said: "Wood has many natural advantages. It's durable, versatile, aesthetically pleasing, biodegradable and, if forests are well managed, renewable. Some wood products have a long working life – wooden construction materials can last hundreds of years and are usually produced with less energy and pollution than those made from alternative materials."