Wood buildings store carbon, instead of burning it up in manufacturing and production, as is the case for steel and concrete.
A video recently released by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute makes the case for increased use of wood in building construction, even in multi-level highrises. The use of wood is increasing in many types of commercial projects.
The video seeks to enhance public understanding of how building more structures with wood helps address pressing global challenges such as population growth and climate change. Wood stores carbon, meaning increased use could help fight climate change, says OFRI Director of Forest Products Timm Locke.
“Half of the dry weight of wood is carbon,” he says. “Wood buildings are essentially huge carbon storage units. This fact alone is causing more and more architects, engineers, developers and policymakers to take a fresh look at building with wood.”
Steel and concrete require large carbon expenditures during the manufacturing and production phases, increasing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Wood, on the other hands, stores carbon during photosynthesis and requires less expenditures during the production process.
The use of engineered products, such as glulams and cross-laminated timbers (CLT), has allowed wood to go to new heights as far as construction is concerned. These products allow for the use of larger pieces of lumber that are not naturally available, and they are stronger than single pieces of wood.
Composites, such as oriented strand board (OSB), and other types of material, are made from waste products created during lumber production (saw dust and wood chips), and many of these materials are also able to be used as structural materials in all types of buildings.
Not surprisingly, Oregon has emerged as an epicenter for the wood-building movement, with dozens of projects underway across the state, including several using CLT in structural applications. “There are plenty of good reasons to build with wood, and we see a ton of value in the momentum building in this state for wood buildings,” Locke says. “We hope this new video contributes to that momentum.”