CO2 Carbon Emissions reduced by Timber Frame

Britain has not yet realised the role that timber-based building can have upon global warming, nor its potentially substantial contribution to meeting ambitious carbon emission targets set by the Government.


The target for reducing greenhouse gasses was raised again in 2004 for the second time in a year since the Government's landmark White Energy paper was published. The Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett and Energy Minister Stephen Timms, pledged to cut carbon emissions by an extra 12 million tonnes through energy efficiency over the next six years.

Benfield ATT - the most environmentally sustainable way to build


Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have risen significantly over the past century, and industry experts link a contribution of this to non-timber construction. We have long recognised the connection between global warming and the immense embodied energy of steel and wet construction methods. As builders, we have a moral obligation to provide high-quality Timber Frame homes that will increase the quality of life and influence impact on the environment for generations to come. Wood could easily be used as a substitute for other high embodied energy materials such as steel, concrete or traditionally used brick and block, and also provide low energy-in-use housing, thus reducing energy emissions from buildings still further.

Our claims are not unfounded. Indeed, across the product lifecycle, wood products actually achieve negative net CO2 emissions lower than any other building material.


Wood plays a major role in combating climate change. Greater use of wood products will stimulate the expansion of Europes forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by substituting for fossil fuel intensive products. The commission is examining ways to encourage these trends.

European Commissions DG Enterprise, 2003


If then, the Government is to reach their new target for CO2 emissions, radical changes must be made in the construction industry, who annually build 120,000 homes, with only 20% of all these being Timber Frame.

The new target represents a 20% increase on the target set last year and would put the UK on-track to surpass its commitment to the Kyoto protocol if achieved. Charles Trevor, managing director of the wood. for good. campaign, agrees. This is not an unrealistic target as, through good forest management and timber certification schemes, we only harvest two-thirds of annual forest growth in Europe, adding some 802,000 about the area of Cyprus annually to Europes carbon sink.

Between 1850 and 1998, some 270 billion tonnes of carbon were released into the atmosphere in the form of CO2. We are currently releasing 3.3 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year.


For your copy of the brochure The role of wood in reducing climate change please visit or telephone 0800 279 0016.

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