“Climate change cannot be won without the world’s forests. ”
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General,
Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and are widely recognized as a cost effective way to tackle climate change. A recent UN FAO report shows that deforestation accounts for 17.4% of the world’s CO2 emissions. This is greater than the emissions from all forms of transport. 13 million hectares are being deforested each year but 6 million hectares of new forest is being planted.
There must be another way. The best technology from
Use wood for long term purposes such as building
and furniture so that the carbon is stored for a long time. The more wood that is used the better.
2/ Use wood instead of other more energy intensive materials such as steel, concrete, plastics and aluminium.
3/ Make use of the insulation and thermal mass qualities of wood to create very energy efficient buildings which are very easy to heat and cool.
4/ Use wood waste as a carbon neutral fuel in efficient heaters and boilers.
Solid wood buildings use more wood and less other materials than timber framed buildings. New Zealand has a great solid wood building tradition. The following press release tells the story.
Many people who have lived in solid wood houses comment on
how warm and comfortable they are. This is in spite of these houses having
walls with a low R value. A group of companies wanting to promote solid wood
buildings asked Dr Larry Bellamy of University of
The first thing they found was that solid wood has
significant thermal mass giving it the ability to store the sun’s heat during
the day and releasing it at night. Brick and concrete are often used because
they provide useful thermal mass but wood has up to 2.5 times as much thermal
mass as concrete per kilo. Dr Bellamy was able to use a building simulation
Probably an even more important discovery was the effect
solid wood walls have on the health of people living or working in such a
building. It has become well known among researchers that relative humidity in
buildings needs to be kept between 30% and 55% to avoid the build up of
bacteria, viruses, fungi and mites, and to minimize respiratory infections and
asthma. Dr. Bellamy found some research from the Fraunhofer Institute, near
The solid wood lined room was found to have a remarkable
ability to moderate over 50% of the moisture variations so that the room was
only outside the safe humidity zone for 3% of the time compared to 27% of the
time for the room with the painted plaster linings. This research from
Many of us have become aware of the benefits of wearing merino, especially for strenuous outdoor activities. The merino is able to work naturally with the body to store and release moisture and stabilize body temperature. Merino also has the ability to reduce the build up of unpleasant odour. Wearing merino and living in solid wood houses both help keep the body healthy and active.
Solid wood buildings have withstood severe storms and
earthquakes when nearby buildings have suffered catastrophic failure. Notable examples are Cyclone Tracy in
Solid wood walls can take the hard knocks when used in kindergartens or motels and can have minimal maintenance costs compared to painted plaster walls. Solid wood even performs well in a fire and can be restored after a minor fire.
Solid wood’s ability to moderate humidity and to breathe means that it can survive, in a wide range of climates, probably for hundreds of years. If it needs to be moved, it can be moved as a whole house, or dismantled and rebuilt on a new site.
While there is still uncertainty about the best way for
A revolutionary new solid wood building system using cross
laminated timber panels has been developed in
An example is a 9 storey apartment block at Murray Grove
near the centre of
Another example highlighting the strength of solid wood is an amazing café projecting out 12 metres over a river. This can be seen at http://www.openspacemurau.at/en.
Another example highlighting the versatility of solid wood
building was a whole Olympic village built for the winter Olympics in
Those living in Solid Wood houses – They are fortunate enough to have a warm, healthy home. Living in a healthy house means less doctors visits and less sick days. Solid wood houses are virtually indestructible and if rising sea levels caused by climate change threatens their home in 100 years it can be picked up and moved to higher ground.
The NZ Government and
taxpayer – Each house built with solid wood rather than steel, concrete or
brick saves many tonnes of CO2 emissions. This reduces the Govt’s and
Farmers, foresters, sawmillers and manufacturers – Solid wood buildings use several times as much wood as a timber frame building, as well as much less other building materials. This leads to more demand for more forests, processing and manufacturing.
Everyone Benefits – Everyone benefits when sustainably grown materials, which need little processing energy, are used instead of materials which make heavy use of the earth’s limited resources. Wood is the world’s only renewable building material so using more wood and less other materials will help save the planet.
The NZ SolidWood
Group – Leading edge science around the development and performance of
solid wood building has been driven in
Printed From Organic Building