Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sodium Borate: One of our favorite features of Green Building

A staggering statistic: 

A study by the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) in 1998 found that 4-6 million acres of forests were being harvested annually in the U.S. to supply wood for repairs (to existing buildings) required because of damage caused by wood destroying organisms - primarily termites & dry rot fungus.

It is simple to treat all the wood installed in the framing stages of construction with non-toxic Sodium Borate.  Sodium Borate is, however, toxic to the bacteria (in the gut of termites) that are responsible for breaking down wood cellulose into digestible material.  Termites avoid Sodium Borate to avoid starvation.

It costs roughly about 85-cents a sq.foot. of floor area to treat a home in construction with Sodium Borate, that equates to $2,125 for a 2500' home.  Considering that a home treated with Sodium Borate should never need to be tented, nor should it ever require repairs to framing materials because of termite or dry rot damage, it's a really great investment towards the durability of our homes.  Tenting is not cheap, and it's not exactly non-toxic either.  

Sodium Borate treatment on framing materials is not possible AFTER a home has been built.  Considering the price of the treatment vs. the benefits, it's almost crazy NOT to treat wood framing materials with Sodium Borate during construction.  If we were in charge we would make Sodium Borate treatment a building code requirement in every state of the country. 

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