Sustainability 2017-01-12T13:48:46+00:00

energy star logo USGBC MEMBER LOGO

Buildings: Design, Structure, and Services

  • We create durable, high quality products and structures with long life spans.
  • Our Open-Built® system allows for easy maintenance and long-term changes in building use.
  • When tested for energy efficiency, Bensonwood homes have exceeded Energy Star standards by a significant margin.
  • We can provide energy modeling so clients can make more informed decisions about energy choices.
  • We offer blower door testing, which helps to ensure that the building envelope is sealed for greatest thermal efficiency.
  • Our dense-packed cellulose-filled wall and roof panels provide thermal insulation values that exceed Energy Star standards and offer important environmental advantages.
  • We use gaskets and/or spray-foam sealant on our panel joints to ensure a tight thermal envelope.

Use of Raw Materials

  • We feel wood itself is one of the greenest materials because it is the most renewable. As you can tell, we are quite fond of using it.
  • We seek to use materials that have low levels of embodied energy, such as wood rather than steel.
  • We use wood products from known sources, that have a long history of responsible forest management.
  • We offer salvaged or local woods as options in all of our projects.
  • We can provide wood products certified through the American Tree Farm System and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
  • We use several types of engineered lumber that are made from lower grade and/or smaller diameter trees, which helps support sustainable forest management.
  • The use of timbers effectively function as carbon storage batteries to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
  • Certified by Greenguard for low emissions, the Advantech sheathing on our floors and walls does not contain urea-formaldehyde and has a fifty year warranty because of its superior moisture resistance.
  • Our timber and ceiling board finishes are environmentally benign.
  • Timbers that don’t make the grade for a timber frame are resawn for use in wall panels, finishes, and trim.
  • We use dense-packed cellulose in our wall panels floors and ceilings because it is one of the most environmentally sensitive building products.
  • We use low-or-no VOC coatings from such local sources as Vermont Natural Coatings.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

  • We invest research and development funds into minimizing resource use and lessening production waste.
  • We conduct material-optimizing routines using 3D computer modeling software to increase resource efficiency, while reducing waste.
  • In-shop fabrication reduces on-site waste and allows us to recycle more of our shop waste.
  • We reuse or recycle 60% of the packaging materials used for shipping to site.
  • We use our wood waste and burn it to heat our buildings.
  • We recycle containers, cardboard, paper, metal, and wood.
  • Waste, such as small off-cuts and sawdust, is made available to the local community for reuse.
  • The New Hampshire Pollution Prevention Program concluded the following about Bensonwood’s waste handling practices: “It is always refreshing to visit a company that carefully evaluates their potential waste streams, and any corresponding potential negative environmental impacts, and then tries to be creative in their solutions to minimize waste.”

Facilities, Vehicles, and Equipment

  • Energy-efficient lighting is used throughout our facility.
  • We purchase equipment and products with the lowest energy consumption.
  • Our facilities meet or exceed thermal insulation code requirements.
  • We used recycled materials in constructing our Walpole facility, including salvaged timbers and recycled floor coverings.
  • Our parking surfaces are water-permeable, reducing runoff, and water waste.
  • Our grounds are naturally landscaped, reducing maintenance, watering, and mowing.

Environmental Outreach

  • The Ecological Continuous Improvement Team (Eco-CIT) is constantly researching new environmental building ideas and technologies.
  • Our company’s giving and outreach efforts include support of local and national environmental associations and programs.
  • Roughly an acre of our land is given over to a community garden.

Responsible Wood Procurement

It is the policy of Bensonwood to procure and sell wood, wood products, and wood structures originating from
responsible and renewable sources. We commit to purchasing from responsible known sources and to avoiding
materials from controversial sources.

The following are considered responsible sources:

  • FSC® Certified Wood
  • Pre and post-consumer recycled/reclaimed or salvaged wood
  • U.S. Renewing Forest- the forest of origin is located in a US state where the volume of hardwood
    growth meets or exceeds forest mortality and removals and controversial sources such as illegal logging,
    the conversion of natural forests, the destruction of high conservation values, or the exploitation of local
    communities is avoided.
  • Other acceptable sources (e.g. verified legal)

We also are committed to avoid trading and sourcing wood from any of the following categories:

  • Illegally harvested wood
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional and civil rights
  • Wood harvested in forests where high conservation values are threatened by management activities
  • Wood harvested in forests being converted to plantations or non-forest use
  • Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted

We have additionally made a commitment to ensure that we will not specify or purchase any materials or
components made from species listed in CITES*

Appendices I, II or III.

We are committed to making best efforts to identify the sources of wood used in the manufacture and sale of
our products, but recognize the difficulty in achieving 100% certainty. For this reason we invite stakeholders to
contact us via under the Contact Us tab and issue a formal complaint if it is believed that
we are not meeting this policy. Bensonwood makes the following commitments towards efficient
processing and responses to all valid complaints; as a company we will:

  • Evaluate and respond to all complaints within a week
  • Investigate all complaints within 2 weeks
  • Immediately halt the use of wood found not to be in line with this procurement policy
  • Maintain records for all complaints and actions taken to be made available to a third party auditing

*CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species