Timber Frame - Interesting Facts

Wood – the Best of All Building Materials 

Carbon Footprint

During growth, trees absorb Carbon Dioxide, creating a ‘carbon neutral’ construction material. The more that is used in a building, the more carbon neutral it becomes, as evidenced by the experimental school that achieved a negative carbon footprint at BRE’s innovation park.

The Carbon Cycle of Wood Building Products

CO2 Reduction

If wood is used to replace other building materials 0.9 tonnes of CO2 can be saved per m3.  Just using a timber frame for a 3 bed detached house can cut 3MT off its usual 20MT carbon dioxide footprint. Increasing this by, for example, cladding the outside with timber rather than bricks can add a further saving of 2.4MT.  

Source: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management Report 196, Carbon benefits of Timber in Construction, 2006

Lowest Embodied Energy

Sawn softwood only requires ¼ of the energy needed to make 1MT of bricks, 1/5th that needed for concrete, 1/6th that of glass, and 1/24th that for steel, while aluminium needs a staggering 126 times more energy to produce.  

Comparing Embodied Eneergy of Timber Building Materials

Best Thermal Insulation

Compared with other structural materials timber performs best of all, e.g.
• 5 x concrete
• 10 x brick
• 350 x steel
Source: www.sustainable-construction.co.uk

The Best ‘Green’ Building Material

The environmental credentials of certified (e.g. FSC & PEFC) timber and timber components achieve superior rankings in both the Code for Sustainable Homes and the Green Guide. Using more timber in your project can therefore help you meet all the regulatory and other environmental requirements more easily.

Lower Energy Efficient Build Costs

According to the Salford Centre for Research and Innovation, building with timber frame saves from 2.2% to 5,2% on the overall costs of building energy efficient homes. To achieve reductions in the Heat Loss Parameter (HLP) of  0.8, 1.1.and 1.3 using timber frame resulted in:-

  • Lower labour costs on-site
  • Less time spent on construction
  • Earlier delivery of a water and wind tight structure

Trees Give us Life

The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management report that besides absorbing around 1MT for every 1m3 growth, this also produces three quarters of a tonne of the oxygen that we need to breath.

EU Forests Growing

Because EU laws demand replacement of all trees harvested, each year European forests increase in area by 661,000 hectares. That is equivalent to adding 3 football pitches of forests to the area every hour, 24 hours a day.  

Source: FAO, State of the World’s Forests, 2007

Growing Europe’s Forests – circa 65% used  - area area increases the size of Cyprus annually

Timber Frame Use of European Softwood

Around 90% of all the timber we use comes from forests in the EU.  This is made up of  softwood 97% and hardwood 84%.
Source: IIED and ECCM, Using Wood Products to Mitigate Climate Change

Using Timber Frame to Mitigate Climate Change

These EU forests also capture and lock-up around 150 giga tonnes of CO2 every year. With this being the main greenhouse gas (75%) using and replacing timber clearly makes a very important contribution to the global fight against climate change.
Source: FAO, Global Forest Resources Assessment, 2005  + Source: IPCC AR4 Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers, 2007

(for more informations see Wood Facts)

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