As the planet enters an era of ecological uncertainty, the idea of using ‘renewables’ to prevent climate change continues to gain traction. From solar, wind, and even trees, there are many renewable sources available for people to use as alternatives to fossil fuels.
We believe that one of the most effective ways we can avert a climate emergency is to better understand how we can utilise renewable consumption; including the role that both forests and forestry will need to play over the coming years to promote the use of replenishable wood resources.
Forest space within Europe alone has expanded by 17,5million hectares in the past 25 years; and continues to rise across both the developed and developing world. If managed correctly, forests can play a major role in suppling and championing sustainable construction. They can also provide a viable and workable alternative to non-renewable building materials in the future.
Here are our top five reasons why architects, specifiers and designers should proactively embrace the use of wood as part of their wider portfolio of construction over the next decade:
Wood is the only mainstream modern building material that is truly infinite. The earth’s reserves of metal ore, stone and oil are all finite – whereas trees can be grown and produced in a whole host of sub-terrains and climates around the globe in a sustainable manner. If we manage forests properly, humanity will never run out of wood.
Using responsibly-sourced wood in a ‘take only what we need’ manner will help us satisfy the global demand for wood, and help protect the biodiversity of forests too. Felling trees when they’ve stored an optimum amount of carbon will also give us the physical space to grow more trees, and therefore remove even more carbon from the atmosphere.
(3) Carbon Storage:
When a tree is felled, it will continue to hold onto the carbon that it collected throughout its life – Therefore every timber building built in the future would help store carbon that was previously in the atmosphere. Over time, whole cities could become ‘carbon reservoirs’ that store thousands of tonnes worth of atmospheric carbon.
It is very easy and cost-efficient to recycle wood, in comparison to other building materials. When done correctly, a pre-loved wood panel can be recycled up to three times without losing its strength or usability. As wood recycling technologies get more efficient, less wood will need to end up in landfill.
Wood is also the only modern building material that’s fully biodegradable. At the end of its product lifespan, the wood of the future could simply find itself shredded into chip flakes and returned to the forest floor to biodegrade – Fungi species within the forest would aid decomposition and help it become the soil that supports a new generation of trees.
As we transition into a more eco-conscious age, wood has to be at the forefront of modern construction if we are to find workable solutions to sustainable building. For more information about the benefits of wood, visit www.woodforgood.com – the timber trade’s co-ordinated campaign to promote the future use of wood in design and construction.