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VIDEO: Humboldt Sawmill Redwood Stars on Designing Spaces

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June 18, 2021 | Bill Esler

Scotia, CA—Humboldt Sawmill, a unit of the Mendocino Companies, is featured on “Designing Spaces” on Lifetime TV. The segment highlights Humboldt Sawmill’s redwood lumber and timbers for home improvement projects like arbors, decks, and driveways.

The Sonoma Raceway is also featured as a large commercial project. Located in the heart of Sonoma Valley wine country, Sonoma Raceway is Northern California’s premier destination for motorsports events. Humboldt Sawmill redwood timbers were used for pergolas and structures to help offer shade and provide guests with beautiful spaces to enjoy the track. The segment features Jessica Hewitt, Humboldt Sawmill’s marketing manager, as well as client Jill Gregory, Sonoma Raceway general manager.

“Sonoma Raceway is so happy to have the partnership with Humboldt Sawmill for an area like this,” says Gregory. “Our ability to take the redwood material that’s so native to Northern California and incorporate it into our raceway was something we thought was going to be a great benefit for our fans.”

The case for redwood in building and construction also got a boost from a recently completed USDA Forest Service Life-Cycle-Assessment of Redwood Lumber which, along with accompanying Environmental Product Declaration identifies redwood as a sustainable building material.

USDA Forest Service researchers recently published FPL-RP-706, October 2020 entitled “Cradle-to-Gate Life-Cycle Assessment of Redwood Lumber in the United States.” Life-cycle Assessment (LCA, also known as life-cycle analysis) can be thought of as an environmental audit where all the environmental impacts from raw material extraction and processing (cradle) through manufacture and preparation for distribution (gate) are scientifically measured.

Primary data on forestry operations, transportation of logs from forests to the sawmill and lumber production, including sawing, drying, and planing was collected from three major redwood lumber mills representing 66.6%of the total production volume of the redwood lumber industry in 2017. Key findings: Because of large renewable energy inputs including electricity and heat from cogeneration of mill residues, the environmental impact of redwood lumber production is quite low. In fact, 69%of total primary energy used in redwood lumber production comes from renewables, especially biomass. Despite the energy used in milling processes, kiln-drying, etc., fully 76%of the kilowatts produced were exported to the commercial grid. The low cumulative energy consumption for redwood lumber production occurs because of the relatively minimal use of kiln-drying.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), this study showed redwood lumber stored about 12 times the total GHG emissions released during cradle-to-gate product manufacturing. CO2 uptake from the atmosphere into redwood trees used to make redwood lumber and the storage of the resultant carbon in long-lived redwood lumber is a substantial environmental attribute because this carbon is sequestered or kept from the atmosphere. This study showed substantial reductions in environmental profiles compared with the previous study in 2013 because of the use of heat and electricity from cogeneration and reductions in electricity use in the sawmills.

Cradle-to-Gate Life-Cycle Assessment of Redwood Lumber in the United States

Sahoo, Kamalakanta; Bergman, Richard. 2020. Cradle-to-gate life-cycle assessment of redwood lumber in the United States. Research Paper FPL-RP-706. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 39 p. October 2020

The Mendocino Family of Companies includes Allweather Wood, Humboldt Redwood Company, Humboldt Sawmill Company, Mendocino Forest Products, and Mendocino Redwood Company.

In aggregate Mendocino Companies owns 440,000 acres of Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC® C013133) certificated timberland, constitutes the largest waterborne wood treater in the Western USA, and is the largest producer of redwood lumber in the world. Humboldt Sawmill produces large timbers and custom cuts in redwood and Douglas fir for “program” business. Additionally, Mendocino Companies owns and operates a 25-megaWatt biomass Cogen plant and largest wood pellet plant in California.

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