Replacing materials like cement and steel in urban construction by wood can avoid greenhouse gas emissions while turning buildings into a carbon sink.
FREMONT, CA: Urbanization and the rise in population are responsible for the huge demand for the construction of new housing and commercial buildings. This, in turn, will be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. However, this situation can be addressed by increasing the use of engineered timber for construction worldwide. Trees take CO2 from the atmosphere and smoothly transform it into oxygen for humans to breathe and carbon in the trunks to use. One of the safest ways to store carbon is to make good use of wood for buildings. Constructing timber buildings can reduce the cumulative emission of greenhouse gases from steel and cement manufacturing at least by half. Eventually, the increase in the use of timber as a building material can encourage the growth of forests to provide the supply. Thus, shifting to wood will achieve climate stabilization.
Buildings can become a global CO2 sink when they are made from timber.
A five-story residential building constructed using laminated timber can store up to 180 kilos of carbon per square meter, which is three times more than in the above-ground biomass of natural forests with high carbon density. By reducing the use of roundwood for fuel, where presently roughly half of the roundwood harvest is burnt, adding to further emissions would make more of it available for building with engineered timber. Also, re-using wood from demolished buildings can add to the supply.
Timber can be readily used as a building material for the following interesting features. Large structural timbers are comparatively fire resistant because the inner layer will be protected by a charring layer when burnt. It can typically achieve a better thermal performance than masonry structures. Therefore, it is hard for a fire to destroy them. Timber frame structures are reliable and robust when designed and constructed appropriately. Thus, engineering the wood into modern building materials, smart harvesting, and construction can be accomplished while promoting safe earth for humans to live.