Structural Wood Products Used in Construction


Based in Montgomery, Texas, William “Bill” Starkey served as CEO of Starkey Construction for 37 years. As an industry leader, William Starkey follows trends and developments through BuildingGreen, an online resource for eco-friendly and sustainable design and construction techniques.

One of the featured articles in BuildingGreen explores the different types of structural wood products that claim to have a low carbon footprint. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is made of structural panels or planks that are layered and glued perpendicularly to each other. CLTs are often used in constructing walls, roofs, and floors. Builders use CLTs because of their strength, dimensional stability, and flexibility.

Another type of structural wood product used in constructing roofs, ceiling frames, and floors is an I-joist or I-beam. An I-joist places a piece of plywood between two pieces of wood, which serve as the top and bottom flanges, forming a letter “I” in cross section. I-joist’s unique form make them lighter and stronger than standard lumber joists, capable of resisting bending and meeting performance standards.

Four Examples of Green Building Materials

For nearly 40 years, William “Bill” Starkey led Starkey Construction as CEO. Working predominantly in Texas, the business was known for building high-end custom homes. William Starkey of Montgomery, Texas also kept the company dedicated to using green building materials whenever possible. The following are examples of popular green building materials:

1. Bamboo – A fast-growing grass, bamboo is a sustainable alternative for wood. Not only does it resemble the aesthetic of wood, but it regenerates faster than trees. It is also available in many colors and styles that bring different personalities into a home.

2. Cork – In commercial spaces and homes, cork has become an increasingly popular flooring option. This is because harvesting cork does not harm the tree, making it very renewable, and the material has hypoallergenic and fire retardant qualities.

3. Strawbale – Good for framing or filling in gaps in the framework, straw is easily harvested and replanted with little impact on the environment. Meanwhile, it offers good soundproofing and insulation for buildings, thus helping homes save on energy costs.

4. Recycled steel – Using recycled or reclaimed steel in the framing of buildings increases the structure’s durability against earthquakes and saves trees. The material is entirely recyclable, so the use of it in new construction reduces ecological impact significantly.

Sustainable Design Integral to Nation’s Affordable Housing

A longtime Montgomery, Texas real estate executive, William “Bill” Starkey guided Starkey Construction, LLC, for more than three decades. Throughout his career, William Starkey emphasized green building materials and sustainable practices to conserve energy and water. William Starkey has a strong interest in the sustainable construction sphere’s latest trends across a wide range of verticals.

As highlighted in a BuildingGreen article, sustainable design and affordable housing goals can often be aligned in ways that many people do not realize. With a shortage of 7.4 million homes for low-income residents nationwide identified by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a priority is that such developments be long-lasting, energy-efficient, and beneficial to resident health. Among the strategies that pay long-term dividends are low-flush toilets, VOC paint, and the latest energy-efficiency technologies.

Beyond conserving energy and lightening the community’s energy load, affordable residences built with these principles in mind are also benefit those who live on the property. Low-income tenants find paying utilities to be a major financial burden, and any technology that lessens energy consumption is a boon to the pocketbooks of these financially constrained consumers.