Everything we do at TimberTown directly or indirectly depends on trees. Sustainability is something we take very seriously.
While sustainability means many things to many people, to us it means balancing our own needs versus future generations. So, with the help of local experts, we, as a leadership team put our heads together to clarify our sustainability efforts and find ways to improve them.
We group these into three main areas: 1) Our Planet, 2) Human Economic Stability and 3) Supporting Communities in which we operate, with details on each provided below.
I. Our Planet
Here is what TimberTown is doing to reduce our environmental impact:
- Solar panels. We currently (April 2023) have 386 solar panels installed on the roof of our new NE Calgary Store.
- Free EV charging stations. Our NE Calgary store has two charging stations for electric vehicles, which are free and open to the public, regardless of whether you are shopping in the store. We promote these through all the EV location apps like PlugShare, ChargeHub, and ChargePoint.
- Electric forklifts. We are moving toward having electric forklifts in all locations. We carefully monitor the air quality in all our indoor warehouses as well.
- Shopping bags and boxes. We offer customers paper bags and cardboard boxes for carrying out bought items.
- Donating useful materials. Our out-of-stock or excess building materials are donated to Habitat for Humanity or other local shelters in the municipalities where we operate.
- Non-reusable materials are recycled. Wooden pallets are converted to wood chips, cardboard goes to municipal recycling. Paper is shredded and recycled. Electronics and batteries are sorted and then recycled.
- Returnable items are collected. This includes all bottles and drink containers used by our employees.
- Heat-efficient building design. In our NE Calgary store, each room has its own thermostat, and we turn these down when rooms are unoccupied.
- Lighting is being gradually updated. Our stores use mostly LED lighting, and we are continuing to update remaining bulbs.
- We buy products by the container load. This helps to reduce packaging, transportation energy and cost to the consumer.
- Dust collection. We have dust collection equipment in our door shops, as dust is a key air-quality challenge.
- Air quality. We have make-up air units and installed air quality monitors.
- CARB2 compliance and VOC free products. The flooring and mouldings we sell are CARB2 Compliant and VOC Free. All Vinyl, Laminate and Engineered flooring brands are FloorScore.
- Composite and PVC decking materials are 65% – 90% recycled materials. This varies depending on the brand. They are made in North America.
- Door disposal. If customers are replacing old interior doors, we dispose of the doors for a minimal fee, since these doors cannot be recycled or processed (they are not pure wood). When possible, we repurpose the doors for shipping protection.
- Local sourcing wherever possible. Although engineered and laminate flooring is manufactured overseas, our solid hardwood is from Quebec, and our treated lumber products are from Spray Lakes sawmill in Alberta.
- Sustainable wood. We do not sell wood from any rainforests or sensitive areas; instead, we use real wood products from sustainably grown and harvested forests.
- Floor refinishing-ability and toxicity. Instead of replacing a floor for a new look, many of our flooring products can be sanded down and refinished. We only sell non-toxic floor finishes, and collect a deposit on the finishing cans to fund provincial recycling efforts.
- Vendor Sustainability: To view the sustainability of various brands we carry, please use the links below:
II. Human Economic Stability
These are the things we are doing to ensure our employees, vendors and customers are healthy, happy and able to afford an economically stable lifestyle.
- We pay well, and provide good vacation benefits. We seek longer-term employees, so offer above-average compensation and bonuses. We also offer two weeks or more vacation, starting after one year.
- We are equally open to all. Although we do not maintain an affirmative action initiative, our hiring is not biased for or against any race, gender, age, religion, handicap or sexual orientation. We are open to all employees who are capable of doing the work at hand, and decisions are based on skill required, industry knowledge, track record and positive attitude. Although we do value education, we have hired many people without post-secondary education and trained them up through the ranks.
- Health and Benefits. After six months of employment, all employees receive a generous health, dental and benefits plan, including fitness and mental health allowances. Should employees have personal stress or need extended time off, we allow sabbaticals to be taken, while holding their jobs for them upon return.
- No wardrobe worries. We provide casual, comfortable and professional shirts and sweaters to our employees, so there is no need to worry about what to wear to work. We also have a footwear allowance for steel-toed shoes.
- Health & Safety Manager. Our full-time H&S manager is constantly checking each store and ensuring there are no safety or health hazards in our stores.
- Dog-friendly. Our locations are dog-friendly, wherever offices exist for them to settle during the day. Customers may also bring dogs into the stores with them, providing they are leashed.
- We are affordable. We constantly compare competitors’ prices to ensure we are lowest in our key areas: doors, floors, decks, and lumber. We give customers options for “good, better, best” so that they can scale home improvements to their budgets.
- We support contractors. We help local contractors thrive by referring installation work to them, providing loyalty discounts, and having them do work in our stores and homes.
- We pay vendors on time. Part of our success has always been getting early-payment discounts whenever possible, and treating our vendors as well as we treat our customers. We also use e-payments whenever possible, to speed up the process and reduce waste.
- We support local businesses. We hire local businesses within Calgary, Edmonton and Canmore to help clean and maintain our stores.
III. Community Support
- Supporting local causes. We choose community causes based on recommendations of local employees. This may be sponsorship, cash donations, or product donations. Historically these have included the Mother’s Milk Bank, Canpraxis (Equine therapy for Veterans), Providence School (for children with special needs), animal shelters, Youth on Route (bike racks for youth), Trico Centre youth programs, Brown Baggin’ It, Canmore Folk Fest, the Highland Games Haunted House and many more.
- Industry support. We are members of the Western Retail Lumber Association and TimberMart. So, we work to raise awareness of the importance of local business, and sponsor many industry-chosen charities, golf tournaments and silent auctions. We have also supported key causes as raised by our contractor customers.
Improvements to Come
We recognize that there is more work to be done to reduce our environmental impact. These are the things we are currently working on. If you or your business can assist with any of these, please contact us today.
- Replacing Propane with Electric Forklifts
- Replacing all lighting fixtures with LED
- Finding a recycling option for plastic packaging of hardwood flooring
- Finding a recycling solution for fluorescent lighting
- Adding ‘no idling’ signs to our loading dock areas
- Accommodating staff to volunteer for local tree-planting initiatives
- Adding solar panels to other stores
- Adding EV charging stations to other stores