Timber is THE solution to the sustainable building question. Or is it…?
I see a lot of hyperfocusing on timber as the end all be all solution to a green future in the building sector. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge supporter of the mass timber and bio-based revolution underway in our industry but that’s only one part of the story
If we want to tackle the climate crisis head on, we need to take a more holistic approach to the problem. That means building in mass timber AND so much more.
In addition to timber, we need to:
Retrofit/refurbish existing buildings
💨Leverage passive design techniques
📍Use locally sourced material and labor
🧩Design and build for disassembly (circularity)
🌳Use bio-based, non-toxic, low-emitting materials
🐝Incorporate biodiversity, and nature inclusiveness
🔁Create flexible, transformable buildings and spaces
✊Embrace inclusive & culturally sensitive approaches
⚡️Generate renewable energy on site, decrease consumption
The list is long and I’m surely missing some, but you get the gist.
If we really want a resilient, sustainable and inclusive built environment we can’t rely on one material (as wonderful as wood is) to save our industry. Agree?
Check out this post by James Drinkwater and the resources linked. The roadmaps to tackle whole-life carbon create a clear and local picture of what is needed.