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A simple wood frame is going up over some infrastructure in a farm field (a device with a motor in a sealed weather-resistant stainless-steel box). This wood frame is meant to help protect against sun, rain and wind. What is the best siding for the environment and long-term functionality?

Some not so great options I considered: Woven plastic tarps seem like a short-sighted option, I hate those plastic bits flying around as they fall apart in a few years. Canvas tarp might be better but less weather resistant and will rot eventually anyway.

Now for the promising options: Wood boards are a more accessible option for me, easy for me to screw on plank shingles or broad sheets. Wood will rot but this structure is somewhat impermanent as you can see from the sketchy design, eventually something better will be setup, and I'd hope the wood would be ok for a few years, storing carbon while it stands and even when it's too weathered, eventually rotting harmlessly or maybe into something useful (soil, biochar). Metal is the most long-term option but not sure it's more environmentally friendly.

Here's a pic of what I'm assembling.

pic of wood frame from angle

wood frame from side

It's shabby but will be functional for this purpose, and it needs to be assembled during a relatively short visit in the field, quick and easy moving materials with a pickup truck. The more weatherproof the siding, the better - this needs to withstand heavy rain, heavy (1ft+) snow loads, zone 4 winters, heavy wind from one side (the other side has a forested windbreak). I'm just asking about what siding is the most sustainable option, also considering replacement intervals and lifecycle impacts.

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  • I’m voting to close this question because I moved it to the more active DIY stack exchange
    – cr0
    Commented Apr 22, 2023 at 15:25
  • "the wood would [...] then rot and store carbon" just a side note: when the wood rots it releases the carbon dioxide the trees stored when they grew. Commented May 24, 2023 at 12:36
  • Sorry I was not writing precisely. I just mean, using this plain, biodegradable product will store carbon and even when it becomes unusable due to weathering, it will slowly decay and can even be broken down in useful ways. But you are right and I'll edit, "rot and store carbon" is not right
    – cr0
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 1:14

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For a few years, wood treated with flaxseed/linseed oil is probably one of the more sustainable options out there. It should last for the time required, and should be entirely bio-degradable.

Other alternatives to a large extent depends on the use. Aluminium would certainly last a few years, and is easily recyclable - but it requires some energy. If you however can reuse the aluminium for other purposes without re-melting it, it's a very good alternative.

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