The construction sector is responsible for a great deal of the resources used. In Europe the building sector accounts for 40% of the energy demand, 36% of greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of material consumption and 33% of generated waste.
The environmental issues are therefore getting more and more important in building planning. In March 2011, the Commission published a Communication entitled, “A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050” . This Roadmap builds on the Europe 2020 flagship initiative for a resource-efficient Europe as part of a series of long-term policy plans in areas such as transport, energy and climate change.
The Communication sets out key elements that should shape the EU’s climate action helping the EU become a competitive lowcarbon economy by 2050. The aim of Roadmap 2050 is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% of 1990 levels by 2050 in order to keep climate change below 2°C. The EC Roadmap 2050 also points to the role of the built environment in achieving the 80% reduction target.
The built environment provides low-cost and short-term opportunities to reduce emissions, first and foremost through improvement of the energy performance of buildings.
The main opportunities are the storage of carbon in wood and wood products, the potential offered by the substitution of other energy or carbon intensive materials and the efficient eco-cycle of wood products.
Wood’s naturally good thermal insulation makes it the material of choice in both cold and hot climates. There are thus significant CO2 savings to be made by using timber in the construction of houses and other buildings, both in terms of embodied energy and in-use energy efficiency.
At the end of their service life, wood products can, in most cases, be recycled, thus extending the carbon storage effect, and/or be used as carbon neutral fuel, substituting fossil fuel.
Timber and wood-based products are not only the first choice for the construction of new buildings as timber offers great potential for changing and modernizing existing, older buildings which are often constructed from concrete. It is primarily a matter of extensions to roofs and storeys. This offers a great potential for big cities to increase the number of dwellings on existing grounds.
BUILD WITH WOOD – REDUCE CO2 EMISSIONS – TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE!
For more information: “Tackle climate change: build with wood” and “Building with wood – modern solutions for wood construction”