With an ever-increasing population, the world faces not only the challenge to build new homes at a high rate – it also needs to be done in a sustainable way. The last years the building industry started to realize that the actual building process has a stronger impact on the environment than previously thought.
Studies show that this process accounts for at least half of a building’s emissions – during its whole lifespan. Building with wood is a way to tackle these issues. Increasing the proportion of wood in construction can facilitate a reduction in the use of other construction materials that require a great deal of energy for their production and entail higher emissions of carbon dioxide.
Compared to other building products, it has huge environmental benefits: it is completely biodegradable, works as an effective insulator and is 100 percent renewable. Wood also absorbs carbon dioxide. One cubic meter of wood absorbs about one ton of carbon dioxide. This is stored in the wood during its whole lifespan, even after becoming a wood product. That’s why it is such a good idea to use wood for large and long-lived projects such as building constructions and bridges.
Growing forests also binds more carbon dioxide than a fully grown forest. This precipitates forest renewal and makes sustainably managed forests a limitless source of raw material. In Sweden, forest management is moving towards methods that enhance natural processes and produce authentic forest structures which are environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically valuable. The Swedish forest industry knows that its future is linked to the protection and expansion of its forests. This, in combination with strong, effective laws, ensures more trees are planted than harvested. Annually 170 000 hectares are planted with some 370 million seedlings.