Building for the future

Editorials by Mikael Eliasson

STOCKHOLM Welcome to a new issue of Trä magazine. Once again, we present features from around the world where building in wood has helped to deliver key functions and creative designs. Thinking about the future and having the courage to practically influence the way forward in a positive manner is exactly what we need in a time when much of the news we read is so negative.

Generally across Europe, construction remains at a low level. For Sweden’s part, it is clear that this is not sustainable. Thanks to a collaboration with Swedish wood promoter Träbyggnadskansliet and the urban renewal project Trästad 2012, we have gained a good insight into the needs of the various regions to build new housing and to improve the existing housing stock. In the large metropolitan regions in particular, there is a need for considerable urban renewal, not least to meet increased demand for low energy consumption.

Politically, it is clear that the issue is rising up the agenda. However, until action is taken, the whole industry will suffer. To speed up the process, we at Swedish Wood, like Trästad 2012, spread knowledge and information about the possibilities of building in wood to meet demands in terms of function, cost and architectural merit.

Strong demand for low energy consumption in the future is a strategic issue for society at large. The housing sector is estimated to account for one third of Sweden’s total energy use and for almost half of all electricity consumed. To reduce the major impacts of the housing sector, we need to use healthy, sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. And to fully reflect the impact of a building, its whole life cycle from production to demolition should be included. Wood holds a special status in this respect, since it is renewable, requires little energy in manufacture and is also light to transport.

In this issue, we also address the question of fire. Fire is one of many areas in recent years to have been extensively researched. As new knowledge becomes available, our industry is positioning itself more confidently to meet customers’ requirements in terms of function and energy efficiency. Research is also opening up new opportunities to test the boundaries when it comes to design work, as we will see many times in this magazine.