Sep 6, 2022

Star Building Materials Finds Revenue in Sustainability

Winnipeg, MB – In Canada’s growing residential construction market, the price of lumber directly impacts the cost of building and purchasing a new home. For major lumber and construction material suppliers like Star Building Materials, keeping costs down requires innovation and making the most of valuable resources.

Star Building Materials stays ahead of the curve through an all-encompassing approach to reducing and eliminating lumber waste from its production and distribution process. The Winnipeg-based company is Qualico’s main supplier of lumber products including trusses, beams, decking, roofing, and services a wide range of contractors from Northwestern Ontario to Canada’s West Coast.

To cut costs and prevent the culled wood and by-products from entering a landfill, Star, like many companies in Canada’s lumber supply industry, has developed apt market solutions to minimize and repurpose excess lumber waste into re-sellable products for less discerning clientele.          

The approach is to repurpose virtually every grain of discarded wood, selling it at discounted prices to customers ranging from construction companies, trades professionals, and DIY project enthusiasts, to municipal departments, railroad, and hydro companies. The tiniest scraps are even sold for use as biofuels to help power one of its supplier lumber mills, or in some cases ground into sawdust and sold to farmers for their horse barns. Any wood left-over in the yard at end of the month is sold as firewood.

To minimize the volume of scrap, Star Building Materials uses a sophisticated automated saw from MiTek that makes precise cuts while maximizing each lift of wood to produce the least amount of waste possible. This game-changing technology reduces the volume of discarded lumber, while delivering a superior quality product at scale more efficiently.

“The software determines the best length of lumber and size of lumber needed to get the most out of what is required for the design,” said, Mark Kennedy, Vice President, Star Building Materials, Winnipeg.

“Ultimately, what you end up with is less waste from the process.”

These efforts make up a component of Star Building’s program to divert lumber products from ending up in landfills.

Star Building Materials’ commitment to eliminating material waste from its production facilities has resulted in several distinct benefits. From fostering a culture of environmental preservation among its more than 200 employees to reducing its environmental footprint and strengthening financial performance, the effort shows that sustainable business practices can also be good for the bottom line.

Star also maintains a construction materials supply store and ready-to-move homes division that designs and builds customizable homes and cottages that can be constructed on-site and shipped to customers in Western Canada.

With a reputation for quality construction products, Star is very selective about the wood it sells to its customers, scrutinizing everything for quality before being processed or sold.

Inevitably, a small percentage of the wood shows imperfections like warping or waning, which the company meticulously culls before processing. This, combined with partnering with only the most reputable lumber mills, helps ensure it is delivering the highest quality materials to a host of other customers and industry partners.

Chris Osborne, Branch Manager, Star Building Materials, says that maintaining a network of high-quality raw material suppliers goes a long way toward reducing waste and making customers happy.

“Our customers expect a higher-grade product, so having partnerships with the best mills helps us reduce the amount of wood going into the bins,” said Chris.

“But at the end of the day, it is wood. It twists, it warps, it cracks. We have a couple of bins around the yard to collect the discarded materials, and we do our best as a company to try to find other uses for them. Just because a piece of wood isn’t acceptable to you and me, doesn’t mean it won’t be useful for somebody else,”.

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