Wood is a renewable resource and one of the most climate-friendly materials to build in today. The construction sector accounts for a large part of our climate footprint, therefore it is important to work consciously with sustainability and the choice of materials can play a crucial role in reducing the footprint. Timber structures bind carbon dioxide until the day when they are demolished, and the raw material is replaced with the aid of solar energy in responsible forestry.

Arkitema Sophie Radich Photo Nils Petter Dahle 5387 web

The potential of wooden buildings

It is possible to build both tower blocks and houses with no load-bearing interior walls using cross-laminated timber (CLT), for example. We have also worked with producers of CLT and timber modules to create designs that are both efficient and aesthetically attractive for these types of structures.

Using wood as our primary building material can significantly reduce our climate footprint, which is important for the planet in the longer term and also in the short term when it comes to climate requirements in regulations, environmental declarations, certification schemes and the EU Taxonomy. With our in-house LCA tool, which is linked to these standards, you can see how much using wood could reduce the climate footprint of your particular project, in real-time and at an early stage.

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Many people also appreciate living in wooden buildings. They give a warm and living feeling, they are tactile and good for our mental health.
Arkitema Erlev Skole Photo Niels Nygaard 01 web

Importance of research and development to this work

Wooden buildings raise different requirements for the structure and design. For example, ceiling heights have to be calculated differently, particularly for tall buildings with regard to stability, fire safety and acoustics. So it is important to have some experience of building in wood, both when estimating costs and resources and when constructing the building. On the other hand, the time spent on the site can be reduced, and so can the cost of foundations because a timber structure is lighter than concrete.

We are constantly monitoring the changing state of knowledge in this area, and are happy to contribute to research and development. For example, we have worked with Chalmers University of Technology to look into the factors that drive costs when we build in wood compared to concrete structures; you can read a summary of the report here.

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Together with COWI, we have also supported a solution for dealing with the risks of damp in wooden buildings in the construction period in our programme for start-up companies. It is important to plan for protection against the weather, but also to make use of tools such as sensors that can measure the moisture level in spaces that have already been closed. If this is done, there is no more risk of damp in a wooden building than there is with other building materials.

In Scandinavia we are used to building our houses in wood, and now we have the experience and knowledge to do so on a large scale too. We have specialists with many years of experience of designing timber structures at our offices in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Working closely with developers, universities and manufacturers, we can enhance the quality of projects while also reducing their climate footprint.

Arkitema Sophie Radich Photo Nils Petter Dahle 5716 web