Timber buildings can help fight climate change

“The construction sector needs educating on how much of a difference timber can make to its carbon footprint”

Scientists have long had a consensus view over the environment: we are in a climate crisis, which is at least partly man-made. The construction sector is one of this crisis’ driving forces, with as much as 40% of energy related carbon dioxide emissions being produced by buildings and construction. But it doesn’t have to be this way: embracing timber can help construction turn its environmental impact upside down.

Carbon dioxide emissions are a major contributor to climate change, and put our natural habitats in peril. If we can reduce, or even eliminate, these emissions, there is a much better chance that we can keep global warming below 1.5C over the next century. This is a crucial level, as climate catastrophe is predicted beyond this point. Wood is a key component in this strategy.

Using timber can not only reduce emissions – if used commonly enough, it can actually eliminate them. This is because, as we have written before, timber is a natural carbon capture and storage device. In other words, it actually soaks up carbon emissions and stores them harmlessly. A major step in the fight against climate change, then, is to educate the construction sector about how beneficial the use of wood can be for the environment.

This is a task being taken on by the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA). In a joint initiative aimed at tomorrow’s professionals, the two bodies have engaged with students at universities across the country.

TRADA and TTF’s university and regional engagement officer, Tabitha Binding, explained: “Our aim is to equip design students with knowledge to face the challenges ahead. So that they graduate, not only comfortable with timber as part of their palette of materials, but also confident and competent to design with both solid and engineered timber, on its own or as part of a hybrid structure, in both new and re-used buildings.”

TRADA and TTF are not the only organisations pioneering this sea-change in construction. And with enough momentum behind it, there is a good chance that the climate emergency can be ameliorated.

If you are looking to do your part for the climate, Quercus has a wide variety of ethically sourced, high-quality, timbers. We can help you pick the right timber for your customers’ latest projects, and are always happy to offer our clients the benefit of our experience. Call 0845 50 50 311 to make an enquiry.