If you are buying timber to frame a house, build a deck or do any other project, you may want to choose timber that is environmentally friendly. This protects the planet as well as the health of your home and family. There are several different aspects of timber that can affect the environment in a range of ways. Here's what you need to keep in mind whilst looking for timber:

1. Choose locally grown timber.

Whether you are buying timber supplies, electronics, food or any other product, the distance those items have to travel to reach you can take a toll on the environment. This is especially true when you are dealing with a large and heavy item such as a pile of timber. To keep your carbon footprint as small as possible, look for timber that is sourced locally. Luckily, Australia has ample numbers of timber forests, especially in Victoria.

2. Insist on sustainable harvest practices.

In addition to choosing timber that is grown relatively close to your home, you also want to ensure that the timber is grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. This includes a number of practises. Ideally, every single tree that is cut down should be replaced by another tree. This tree can be planted by hand, or it can spring up naturally as the other trees drop their seeds -- the forest managers simply have to track it so they know for certain that all of the harvested trees have been replaced by new growth.

However, the forest manager should not just fill the forest with one particular type of tree. Instead, he or she should work to respect and maintain the biodiversity of the forest. That allows animals and other plants to flourish, and it also protects the climate and water cycles in the area.

3. Opt for environmentally friendly treatments.

In addition to investigating where your timber is grown and the conditions under which it is harvested, you should ensure that you know how your timber has been treated. Typically, they are three different ways to treat timber, and if possible, you should select timber that has been treated with boron.

This is a water-based preservative that is not linked to any known health problems. Other popular timber treatments include LOSP and CCA. LOSP contains a number of chemicals that bleed into the air for some time after the wood has been treated. CCA contains copper and arsenic, which can leach into the soil surrounding the timber, making it unsuitable for gardening. In addition, timber that has been treated with CCA can be harmful to children if they have a lot of contact with it, which is why it is not recommended for use in playground structures.

4. Use environmentally friendly sealants and paints.

Once you finally have your timber, you may want to paint or seal it. If so, keep the environment and your family's health in mind when choosing these products as well. Ideally, you should look for products that claim to be environmentally friendly, and in particular, you should use sealants and paints that emit low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

5. Explore reclaimed timber.

When you are building with timber, in some cases, you need fresh, unused wood. However, in other cases, you may be able to use reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is wood that has already been used. For example, many people love to cover accent walls or make dining room tables out of reclaimed barn wood. This option gives your project a unique and trendy look, but it also helps preserve forests.

For more tips on selecting environmentally friendly timber, contact a local timber supplies retailer.