New report confirms timber’s importance in fight against climate change

“The Committee for Climate Change’s new report is aimed squarely at the UK construction sector, and champions timber as an environmentally friendly material”

A new report from the Committee for Climate Change (CCC), entitled Wood Construction in the UK: An Analysis of Carbon Abatement Potential, demonstrates how powerful Timber can be in the fight against climate change – and how big a part the UK’s construction sector could play in that battle too.

The crux of the matter is this: over 50% of a building’s carbon footprint comes from “the extraction, manufacture, transportation, demolition and disposal of its core materials”. Concrete and brick are well-known for being “intensive” in their embodied carbon rates. But timber requires far less carbon production over its lifecycle, because it is a natural material.

Now, add to this timber’s use as a carbon capturing device (we’ve written about this before, but in case you need a reminder: timber actively absorbs and stores carbon from the atmosphere, making it a naturally occurring device for the elimination of greenhouse gases). The result is dramatic: less carbon pumped into the environment, and more carbon sucked out of it.

According to the report, increased timber use in the UK construction sector has the potential to reduce embodied carbon by 18-19%, and could increase carbon capture and storage by an enormous 59-64%. These figures are incredible, and should make us all consider whether we could cut down on artificial materials and use more timber.

The report’s conclusion is a clear call to action for people who are on the fence as to whether timber is the right material to use in their up-coming project: “while reduction of embodied carbon within buildings can be achieved through various measures, an increase in stored sequestered carbon can only be achieved by increased use of biomass-based materials such as timber.”

At this critical juncture for the environment, and certainly in light of the increasing popularity of environmentally friendly solutions, it’s time to talk to your customers about climate change. If they want to make a difference, Quercus is more than happy to offer our advice on the type of timber that would best suit your project. Feel free to call on 0845 50 50 311, or send us an email via our secure contact form.