Professional Consumer Perceptions about Thermally Modified Wood

Shelby L. Gamache, Omar Espinoza, Matthew Aro

Abstract


Thermal modification of wood is a chemical-free treatment that results in improved durability, enhanced dimensional stability, and a change in color throughout the entire thickness of the wood. Thermally Modified Wood (TMW) provides an opportunity for sustainable and value-added uses for timber resources that are underutilized or affected by disease or pests. TMW has commercial success in Europe, but it is in the early stages of market adoption in the United States. The main goal of this research was to identify the challenges and opportunities for TMW in the U.S. by investigating professional adopters’ perceptions of various decking materials, including thermally modified wood. In-person and online surveys were conducted for this purpose. Participants perceived that the most favorable attributes of TMW are Durability, Environmental Performance, and Aesthetics. Professional users of decking materials also considered the Cost of TMW to be relatively high, but competitive with that of tropical hardwoods and wood-plastic composites. A block of conjoint analysis questions helped to uncover the target audience’s priorities and tradeoffs that they are willing to make between the different product attributes. Results from this research are useful to inform the formulation of effective marketing strategies.

Keywords


Thermally modified wood; Thermally modified timber; Consumer perception; Conjoint analysis; Decking; Marketing

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126