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Timber Buildings as 2nd Forest

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

The 21. of March 2021 is the International Day of Forests. Forests are our best allies in the fight against climate change, because trees absorb CO2 as they grow. If the wood is used permanently, e.g. in buildings, the carbon (C) from this CO2 remains sequestered in it.

The EU Commission's “Green Deal” aims to make Europe the first continent to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. To reach this goal, we have to act on two dimensions:

  • reducing the amount of emissions

  • capturing CO2 from the atmosphere

Cultivating forests protects our climate

As trees grow, they bind the carbon (C) of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the wood and release the oxygen component (O2). Each cubic meter of wood binds about 250 kg of carbon – this is the amount of carbon contained in one ton of CO2. Forests and their wood are therefore natural carbon sinks and thus heroes in the climate crisis.

A hand holding a transparent house in which you can see multiple trees - in front of a forest with warm sunlight breaking through
Timber Buildings store CO2 just like the forest itself. © proHolz Tirol

The second forest

When used in furniture, bridges or buildings, wood will continue to store the carbon for its entire life span.

The message is simple: The bigger the timber building (more volume, storeys), the more CO2 it can store - just like a second forest.

When building in timber, our climate benefits twice: Forests remove CO2 from our atmosphere. And the use of wood, e.g. in multi-storey buildings, avoids emissions from the production of substituted, more emission-intensive materials.

~ Build-in-Wood Consortium


Stability through management

Sustainable forest management ensures the stability of Europe’s forests. Europe’s forest area is increasing and every year, more wood grows back than is harvested. As soon as full-grown trees are harvested from the forest, the forest owners plant new ones. Since they grow quickly, young trees absorb larger amounts of CO2 than mature trees. Sustainable use of wood as a construction material is therefore one of our most efficient carbon storage methods.


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