Is Timber Cladding Sustainable?

If you’re looking for sustainable cladding, timber could be your best option.

As a general rule, timber is one of the most sustainable building materials. When compared with steel or concrete for example – in terms of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, and waste created – timber wins every time.

This said, it is important to look for accreditations and certifications that ensure the timber you are using has been responsibly sourced. Sustainable timber certifications that you should look for include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification and PEFC Certification for Promoting Sustainable Forest Management.

Finally, it is important to consider the variety of wood that you are using for cladding. Not all timber is equally suitable for cladding, especially external cladding which has to withstand all weather and all seasons.

For this reason, a popular choice is Western Red Cedar. Thanks to its durability, cedar cladding is used extensively in outdoor construction, and its inherent properties mean that it can last for up to 60 years (you can learn more in our article, “How long does external cedar cladding last?”).

Is Western Red Cedar a sustainable building material?

As long as it is certified by the FSC, then Western Red Cedar is a strong option as far as sustainable construction goes. It’s conservation status, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is ‘Least Concern’.

Indigenous to the Pacific Northwest in the northern United States and Canada, Western Red Cedar has in the past been extensively logged, to the detriment of eco-systems in the region. However, responsibly sourced Western Red Cedar that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is now widely available. Always look for this certification to ensure that the timber you are using is from a genuine sustainable source.

Sustainable timber cladding for exteriors

Thanks to its weather-resistant qualities, the long lifespan of Western Red Cedar cladding, combined with its low-impact on the environment mean that it is one of the most sustainable materials to use for external cladding.

Shop here for your Western Red Cedar cladding from Whitmore’s Timber.