Building for our planet – how architects can help combat climate change
21 May 2021 Sustainable construction
Did you know that building and construction work accounts for 39% of energy-related CO2 emissions? Architects and those working in the construction sector have the power to change this. They play a key role in combatting climate change by shifting to sustainable construction.
Concrete and steel are among the most frequently used construction materials. But they emit high amounts of carbon.
“The global use of concrete causes more CO2 emissions than a country like India,” explained architectural engineer Pablo van der Lugt in the webinar “Tomorrow’s Timber Talk” – powered by PEFC.
This means a great responsibility for architects and others working in the sector.
A sustainable alternative
There is a sustainable alternative to carbon-intensive building materials, and it is growing in our forests.
“By building with wood, we can reduce a building’s carbon emissions by up to 60%,” said Paul Jarquin, President of REI Habitat, in a recent PEFC webinar. “This really is a game changer.”
While other construction materials emit CO2, wood does the opposite. Trees absorb CO2 while growing, and store it as carbon in their biomass, where it stays, even after the trees have been harvested.
After a tree reaches maturity, its carbon sequestration rate slows down. Sustainably harvesting trees in their early mature phase and replacing them with new trees ensures that a forest can absorb the maximum amount of CO2.
Using timber from sustainably managed forests in construction therefore not only contributes to sustainable buildings, it also helps our forest to clean our air and combat climate change.
“Timber can lock in one tonne of CO2 per m³,” Pablo van der Lugt explained.
“Additionally, replacing one ton of concrete or steel with one ton of timber avoids 1.5 tons of CO2.”
Tracking the origin of timber – a key for its sustainability
Using timber in construction should not be to the detriment of forest health. PEFC certification gives you the assurance that the sourced timber comes from sustainably managed forests.
Through PEFC project certification, you can demonstrate your decision to build with PEFC-certified timber.
The Best Use of Certified Timber Prize – supported by PEFC
Are you interested in sustainable architecture with certified timber? PEFC is sponsoring an award at the renowned World Architecture Festival (WAF). The Best Use of Certified Timber Prize rewards architects for using certified timber for outstanding constructions. Stay tuned, as we present this year’s shortlisted projects soon!
The World Architecture Festival takes place 1-3 December 2021 in Lisbon.
Under the theme Designing the Future with Sustainable Timber, a range of stakeholders have come together under the leadership of PEFC to promote the use of wood in construction in general and certified wood in particular.
Join us! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org