How Urban Wood Use Mitigates Climate Change

Sam Sherrill, a household name in urban wood utilization circles, recently presented the environmental benefits of making products with urban wood at a workshop organized by Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods.

His presentation focused on a research paper he co-authored with Steve Bratkovich of Dovetail Partners. The research, Sherrill says, was conducted to show “how urban wood products sequester carbon that would otherwise form the green house gas CO2 when the same wood was used as fuel or mulch. Basically, every pound of carbon held in a wood product prevents the formation of 3.667 pounds of CO2.”

Sherrill shares his “quick way to do these calculations for a range of hardwoods and softwoods… “Individual urban forest product businesses can calculate how much CO2 is not formed by each of their products and for all their products on an annual basis. This directly links urban tree utilization to the mitigation of climate change/global warming.

“Thus, utilizing urban wood to produce solid wood products (instead of fuel and mulch) makes both environmental and economic sense. Both are marketing facts that will be very important to buyers who want products that make the best economic use of an urban resource and, at the same time, make an environmental contribution.”

Sherrill adds that he plans to approach the California Air Resources Board to consider including urban products as part of the state’s cap and trade.

Click here to access Sherrill’s urban wood workshop presentation.

Click here to view the urban wood carbon sequestration research project co-authored by Sherrill and Bratkovich.

Sam welcomes questions and comments to this research project. Contact him at ssherrill50@gmail.com.