Why should we build more with wood?

Modernising our cities by building more in wood is a, strategic opportunity to achieve significant CO2 emission reductions and transform the built environment from a carbon source into a carbon sink.More research and innovation into novel products and systems design is needed to make this transformation happen.


The current linear economic system

To counteract the growing climate crisis, a large-scale transformation of the current linear economic system into a sustainable model is utterly needed. To prevent global warming beyond the critical 2° C, all sectors including construction need to reduced their emissions by at least half during every next decade. The Circular Economy model is proposed as a new paradigm to achieve this objective.

Construction sector represents 40% of all CO2 emissions

Construction and the built environment are today one of the largest and most energy-intensive sectors of our civilization, accounting for 40% of all CO2 emissions and contribute largely to climate change. Iron and cement production rely on chemical processes that release significant levels of CO2, and essential raw materials such as sand are becoming already scarce.

Wood is the circular material par excellence

Forests are renewable ecosystems which extract huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. A main advantage of wood material is that it can be recycled both biologically and technically . The carbon storage time can be further prolonged through additional reuse and recycling phases. When it has attained its end-of-life in the technical cycle, it can enter again the biological cycle. Wood is a readily available solution to turn buildings from a carbon source into a carbon sink.

Wood construction a fast-growing market

Wood is an extremely versatile and lightweight building material. It has been used as such since the beginning of mankind. However, since the recent invention of industrialized wood building systems (CLT, Glulam, prefabrication), wood construction is becoming a fast-growing market worldwide and diversifying into various new branches such as multi-storey buildings, retrofitting, renovation, or urban densification.

To prevent global warming beyond the critical 2° C, all sectors need to reduce their emissions until 2050

Forests are renewable ecosystems extracting huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere

Building more in wood is a unique, strategic opportunity to achieve significant CO2 emission reductions

Construction and the built environment account for 40% of all CO2 emissions globally

Engineered wood products (EWP) can store carbon for decades or even centuries in buildings

Eco-design and digital innovation with wood

To make the most of this magnificent material today, a new mindset is needed to recover traditional knowledge and techniques and innovate the wood sector by adopting advanced technologies in engineering, eco-design, life cycle assessment, digitalisation and smart logistics. New research and innovation into sustainable, bio-based products, systems solutions and circular supply chains will pave the way for a large-scale transformation of our built environment.

Rural renaissance through wood construction

Rural areas represent 80% of the EU territory. Rural exodus and the ongoing demographic change are having big impacts on rural regions in Europe, where jobs in forestry represent around 500,000 employees. Being the initial link of forest-based value chains, this workforce ensures the sustainable management of forests and supply of the raw material to the forest-based industries, which count around 2-3 million employees.Rebuilding the economy also needs to safeguard rural jobs in forestry and wood industries.