Why more buildings should be made of wood

Source:  The Economist

Buildings can become greener. They can use more recycled steel and can be prefabricated in off-site factories, greatly reducing lorry journeys. But no other building material has environmental credentials as exciting and overlooked as wood.

The energy required to produce a laminated wooden beam is one-sixth of that required for a steel one of comparable strength. As trees take carbon out of the atmosphere when growing, wooden buildings contribute to negative emissions by storing the stuff. When a mature tree is cut down, a new one can be planted to replace it, capturing more carbon. After buildings are demolished, old beams and panels are easy to recycle into new structures. And for retrofitting older buildings to be more energy efficient, wood is a good insulator. A softwood window frame provides nearly 400 times as much insulation as a plain steel one of the same thickness and over a thousand times as much as an aluminium equivalent...

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