In order to achieve the objectives of the agreement on climate change and reduce the industry’s large ecological footprint, greater use of timber in construction is expected in the next decade.
‘Although processed timber has been used in construction for decades, it is considered to have great prospects for achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change – reduce CO2 emissions in construction as much as possible and ensure that new buildings emit as little carbon dioxide as possible during their life cycle,’ said Tõnu Bergmann, the Head of Kaamos Timber.
He added that according to the UN, the construction and management of buildings today accounts for 36% of global energy consumption and about 37% of greenhouse gas emissions. The production of construction materials – steel, cement, and glass – alone accounts for 10% of global CO2 emissions related to energy.
Timber is the construction material of the twenty-first century
Alo Nõmmik, the Head of Kaamos Ehitus, also confirmed that timber is becoming more widely used in building structures. ‘If the nineteenth century was the century of steel and the twentieth century was the century of concrete, this twenty-first century is one of timber,’ he said.
However, Nõmmik believes that the wider use of timber in construction is one of the biggest challenges because the outdated view of thinking that wood is foremost for making fire or building ships still has to be combated.
The Head of Kaamos Ehitus added that construction technologies and materials science are developing rapidly and wooden structures already offer strong competition for steel and concrete. A good example is CLT (cross-laminated timber) where different layers are glued or nailed together crosswise to form timber panels, resulting in a more environmentally friendly, warm and natural building material.
Tõnu Bergmann, the Head of Kaamos Ehitus, further explained that the impact of buildings on the environment depends on the choice of building materials, both during construction and the entire life cycle of the building. ‘Concrete is about five times heavier than timber, which means higher expenditure on foundation and transport, which is significantly more resource intensive and causes additional CO2 emissions,’ Bergmann said. Nõmmik added that a lighter and more accurate material often contributes to the speed of construction, and less noise, dust and waste is generated on the construction site. All this, in turn, means lower construction costs and fewer problems on the construction site.
‘Timber is a renewable and durable building material that can be used in almost any construction work,’ Bergmann is sure. He said that the production of building materials from wood uses less energy, causes less air and water pollution, and has a smaller carbon footprint than other widely used building materials.
However, Nõmmik believes that steel and concrete will continue to be needed in construction, but it is also certain that, in the future, combining different building materials will be increasingly easier.