On this Earth Day, we at TerraMai are reminded that wood lies at the heart of the human experience. From the very origins of our species (whether we came down from the tree tops or took the Adam, Eve & Tree route) to the boundless wood objects, artifacts, structures and materials that adorn our lives, wood provides humankind with a unique and limitless source of beauty and utility.
Wood has played a central role in the great innovations and events of human history, including shelter, fire, the wheel, the plow, bridges, boats, windmills, the first airplanes, musical instruments and virtually infinite other examples.
Not to mention the immeasurable presence of wood in everyday life, the wood handle of a trusted tool worn smooth from years of faithful service, wood floors underfoot, cherished wood blocks and toys rubbed to a gentle shine from children’s hands, sturdy kitchen tables, beloved musical instruments, old wood structures both humble and grand and on and on. Wood is perhaps the most fundamental, versatile and all-around practical material in human existence.
Simply look around, wherever you may be, chances are wood surrounds you in a startling variety of ways. Most them likely beautiful to gaze upon while also serving useful purpose.
To enumerate wood’s many aesthetic and practical qualities is to compile an astounding list of attributes.
Wood is the only building material that appeals to all five senses (lovely to the eye, warm to the touch, soft to the ear, fragrant to the nose and flavorful to the tongue with smoked foods, wine and fermented drinks).
Wood is unique in its ability to make a space feel warm and welcoming – whether a home, workplace, store, restaurant or hotel. Science shows wood helps people feel calm and at ease in a space, boosting test scores in classrooms and recovery rates in hospital facilities that deploy wood finishes and furnishings.
Wood is the only renewable construction material. Wood products require much less embodied energy to produce than other materials, such as plastic, vinyl and metal products.
Wood is naturally carbon sequestering, with 50% of wood’s total weight coming from carbon. This carbon also remains sequestered for as long as the wood material remains in service and only releases into the atmosphere once the wood is discarded or burned, which highlights the additional benefits of recycled/reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed wood comes with unique history and character that adds instant soul and story to a space. Reclaimed wood also provides an infinite variety of unique looks, from classic weathered barn wood to beautifully clear all-heart, old-growth redwood with deep burgundy tones imbued by decades as wine tanks in Northern California.
The use of reclaimed wood also helps preserve standing trees and reduce manufacturing energy. It takes 1/13th the energy to produce wood cladding and flooring from reclaimed wood than new wood.
TerraMai continues to innovate and lead the industry in new ways to reclaim wood and manufacture it into beautiful products for architects and designers on projects of all types. TerraMai is unique in the variety of ways we reclaim wood, including “post-consumer” reclaimed wood salvaged from old structures, “pre-consumer” reclaimed wood rescued from manufacturing waste, “orchard-salvage” reclaimed wood from culled orchard trees, and “underwater” reclaimed hardwoods from reservoirs in the tropics.
But on this day, we are reminded it all points back to Mother Earth, the provider of life and all we behold before us. Long may she live in peace and good health. Knock on wood.
Matt Nichols, TerraMai VP of National Accounts – Western U.S.