12 reasons why wood construction is an effective means of tackling the decarbonisation of buildings

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The global threat of climate change has forced all industrial sectors to seek cleaner and more sustainable solutions. In the building industry, one of the most resource and energy intense industries, wood is the ideal material for successfully meeting the goal of building decarbonisation.

The following data speak for themselves:

In the forests        

       1) Each year, trees convert 11 billion tons of CO2 into vegetable material and oxygen through photosynthesis. The “service” they provide eliminates or stores the equivalent of 27% of all CO2 emissions generated by human activity.

As a raw material

      2) Whilst wood traps and retains CO2, cement production is responsible for 6% of the world’s carbon emissions. Likewise, the manufacture of steel – half of which is used for building – accounts for 8%.
      3) According to estimates, each ton of wood that replaces cement prevents the emission of two tons of CO2.


    4) The amount of energy required for transforming wood is very low: between 60% and 80% less than cement.
    5) It takes 15 times less energy to product a wooden beam than a concrete one.

               Video in which the wood process is shown, from the forest to the building, passing through the factory.


On the building site

     6) Wood structures are some 30% lighter than their cement or steel equivalents, therefore requiring less heavy machinery for transportation or construction purposes.

85 homes wooden building in Cornellá (Barcelona)

In the building

       7) 1 cubic meter of CLT traps a ton of CO2, whilst cement emits 150 kg and steel 1.85 tons.
       8) Wood is 15 times more efficient than concrete as a natural thermal insulator, and 400 times better than steel, effectively cutting cooling and heating energy costs.
      9) If 90% of all new buildings had a wooden structure, rather than a concrete and steel one, global CO2 emissions would be reduced by 4%, which is more than the carbon  footprint of planes.
     10) If 80% of Europe’s residential buildings were made of wood, 55 million tons of CO2 could be stored a year. A figure equivalent to around 47% of the annual emissions generated by the European cement industry.


   11) There are numerous examples of centuries-old temples built of The  Horyuji buddhist Japanese temple  dates back to the 7th century. Many examples of medieval  architecture in wood can also be found in various parts of Europe.

Recyclable and reusable: the circular economy

  12) ]At the end of its useful life, wood used in buildings can be recovered for other uses, as its characteristics fit in perfectly with the circular economy model.





Photo forest Vanessa Bucceri / factory chimney Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash 

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