A third generation British Columbian with roots in the forest sector, Peter Moonen’s spent the past 23 years as a technical communications specialist articulating regulatory, environmental, sustainability, economic, production and operational issues related to the forest industry in Canada.

As the Sustainability Coordinator for Wood WORKS! BC, a program developed by the Canadian Wood Council to foster a strong wood culture in Canada, Peter regularly presents to diverse audiences throughout North America, Asia and Europe about how to achieve greater sustainability. PFLA was lucky enough to persuade Peter to join us at our 18th annual private forestry forum in Nanaimo, BC, June 20th, 2013.

Along with a detailed and engaging presentation chock full of graphics, charts, images and statistics demonstrating the benefits of building with wood, Peter Moonen brought what no other presenter did — prizes!

After outlining a brief history of building codes and the evolution of the “green” building concept, Peter highlights the complex choices involved in identifying which building products, or design features, are actually best for the environment.

Life cycle assessment (LCA), a widely accepted quantitative method used to assess environmental performance, replaces emotion and guesswork with science-based decisions. LCA adds up all the environmental effects of the decisions and processes that occur over the life of a product—from resource extraction to disposal.

LCA takes into account the full environmental impact of:

  • Ecological effects of resource extraction
  • Emissions to water and air
  • Solid waste generation
  • Resource use
  • Water use
  • Transportation energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions
  • Energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions

Peter presents graphics to illustrate the numerous life cycle assessment studies worldwide that show wood products offer clear environmental advantages over other building products.

The presentation also includes easy-to-understand carbon basics: the difference between fossil carbon and atmospheric carbon, a diagram explaining how carbon sequestration works and elements of a forest product carbon footprint.

Peter turns the question “Why wood?” on it’s head and asks “If not wood, then what?

  • Carbon Sink
  • Renewable
  • Recyclable
  • Reusable
  • Organic
  • Cleans Air
  • Cleans Water
  • Provides O2
  • Biodegradable
  • Habitat Source
  • Avoids CO2
  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Diverse
  • Attractive
  • Easy to Use
  • Available
  • Inexpensive
  • Versatile

Peter concludes the presentation with 3 case studies—Library Square (Kamloops), Olympic Oval (Richmond), Stadthaus Building (London)—that demonstrate the carbon sequestered using wood products, as well as the greenhouse gases avoided by not using other products, to arrive at the total potential carbon benefit from each building.

You can view the complete presentation below.

“In the long-term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, will generate the largest sustained benefit.”
— from the co-recipients of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.