Wood for Good, Choose Wood For Sustainability- DIY Tip 27


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1. Wood is carbon neutral (Because trees absorb CO2 as they grow). In fact, because of the carbon sink effect of the forests, wood from sustainably managed forests can actually be better than carbon neutral. If you use enough wood, a building can be carbon neutral – or better!

Take, for example, the Re-thinking school built at BRE’s innovation park by White Design and Wilmott Dixon using cross laminated solid timber panels. This achieves a negative carbon footprint.

2. Using wood instead of other building materials saves on average 0.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per cubic metre Source: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, 3 tonnes of CO2 can be saved by using timber frame from the 20 tonne CO2 footprint of a typical 3 bedroom detached house.

 Increasing the timber content, including softwood cladding, can reduce the footprint to 2.4 tonnes – a total reduction of 17.6 tonnes CO2. Source: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management Report 196, Carbon benefits of Timber in Construction, 2006

3. Wood has the lowest embodied energy of any mainstream building material A tonne of brick requires four times the amount of energy to produce sawn softwood, concrete five times, glass six times, steel 24 times and aluminium 126 times.

4. Wood has the best thermal insulation properties of any mainstream construction material • 5 times better than concrete • 10 times better than brick • 350 times better than steel.

5. Timber helps achieve higher Code for Sustainable Homes star ratings Certified timber and timber products have Environmental Profiles which can contribute to achieving higher Green Guide ratings and higher star ratings in the Code for Sustainable Homes.

6. Build cost of energy-efficient homes and buildings are lower with wood In comparison to masonry, timber frame construction saves between 2.2% and 5.2% in overall build cost to achieve reductions in HLP (Heat Loss Parameter) to 1.3, 1.1 or 0.8. • Lower on-site labour costs • Reduced construction time • Earlier water tight structure Source: Salford Centre for Research and innovation

7. Trees absorb one tonne of carbon dioxide for every cubic metre’s growth Source: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management They also produce the oxygen we breathe - almost ¾ tonne of oxygen for every cubic metre’s growth.

8. Europe’s forests are growing by 661,000 ha every year Source: FAO, State of the World’s Forests, 2007 That’s an area greater than three football pitches every hour of the day and night. And it’s because Europe’s forest owners are governed by laws which require the replacement of harvested trees.

9. Over 97% of the softwood we use comes from European forests Source: IIED and ECCM, Using Wood Products to Mitigate Climate Change And over 84% of the hardwood we use comes from European forests. So, altogether over 90% of all the wood we use comes from European forests.

10. Europe’s forests are an important - and growing - carbon sink Europe’s forests provide a carbon sink for 150Gtonnes of carbon dioxide Source: FAO, Global Forest Resources Assessment, 2005

As carbon dioxide accounts for over 75% of greenhouse gas emissions, this is a significant contribution to mitigating climate change.

Source: IPCC AR4 Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers, 2007

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