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Why We Use Redwood to Build Solar Pergolas

At Shade Power, we build our solar pergolas out of redwood. We have chosen redwood because we believe it is the most aesthetic option that is also durable and environmentally friendly. Redwood trees evolved to be amazingly hardy trees that live to be 2,000 years old. The biology that allows trees in the wild to thrive so well is the same biology that makes sustainably harvested redwood such a great building material.

Redwood trees are naturally resistant to fire and decay. A picture showing the small size of a coastal redwood tree cone.Amazingly, these giant trees disperse much smaller cones than one would expect out of such a large tree. These cones are merely the size of a golf ball containing seeds no larger than an oat. These tiny seedlings can’t take root until a fire has swept through, clearing other vegetation out of the way. In order for redwoods to survive the fires they depend on to germinate, they evolved to be naturally fire resistant. Redwoods contain tannins that give redwood its distinctive color and also give it a natural resistance to insects, decay, and fire.These tannins also protect redwood against moisture that can lead to mold growth or warping.

Redwood is very low maintenance thanks to its decay resistance. It is one of the few wood species that can be allowed to weather naturally. This no-maintenance option gives a rustic look that is often preferred. If left to age naturally, redwood will darken and then turn a gray patina over time. Hues will vary because of inherent variation in redwood lumber. Even after the color has changed, the original color can be restored by cleaning it.

Another of the main reasons we have chosen to build our solar pergolas out of redwood is because of how eco-friendly it is. Redwood harvesting is strictly regulated and much of the redwood forestlands our redwood comes from is further certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit that sets high standards to make sure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible way. Redwood is also 100% natural and biodegradable and is primarily harvested right here in northern California. What’s more, redwood trees take carbon out of the air as it grows through photosynthesis. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, rely on fossil fuels for manufacturing resulting in carbon emissions.

Finally, building out of redwood is the most beautiful option and gives us the most flexibility in design. We custom build each pergola with our crew cutting each piece of wood just for your project. This means that the pergola is built to perfectly support the number of solar panels that we are installing. Interested in learning more about how a solar pergola can help you go solar? Contact us to learn more.

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