A Return to Wood – Designing Sustainable Buildings for the Future

As the construction industry is one of the main contributors to climate change; wood coming back is what they need.

According to CGTN,

Returning to wood

These days, more and more homes and buildings are being made out of wood, such as the MaxAcht in the German city of Stuttgart.

Unlike many design concepts, which are created by the developer, this award-winning CO2-neutral four-story living complex was the inspiration of its apartment owners.

“It was never a question that we build sustainably, it was just a question of what form,” MaxAcht Apartment Owner Anni Endress told CGTN.

The group was then introduced to the concept of wood and was immediately enthusiastic because of its many sustainable qualities.

“Wood is storing CO2. If you produce metal or whatever, you set free CO2,” explains Klaus Grübnau, one of the architects who worked with the residents to construct the award-winning design. “Wood has a very warm surface and this is a big advantage in winter because you need less heat. And in summer the wood heats up very, very slowly. So the building has over the year a very regular curve of temperature development.”

Grübnau adds that because wood is already an insulating material, walls are not as wide, providing more living space. 

In addition, the wood – taken from a regional forest to reduce transportation emissions – holds together using old junction designs, meaning no glue or possible toxins were used. At the same time, it also allows for easy construction and dismantling.

Buildings of the future

This is exactly what buildings of the future need, says Christine Lemaitre – CEO of the German Sustainable Building Council.

“The real question is sufficiency. How much space do you really need? Because every square meter we don’t build is actually the best contribution to reducing CO2 emissions,” she says. 

“Then you really need to think how can we build a project that can be adapted over time, especially when we look at housing. Our lives always change – we have kids, kids move out – so we need buildings that can work with that.”

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