“The Value of Wood" for European bioeconomy explained at Brussels International Forum
Over 100 participants, composed of European Timber Industry stakeholders, policy makers and key trade organisation leaders, gathered last 21 March 2017 in Brussels for the International Forum “The Value of Wood."
Hosted by the Honourable Member of the EU Parliament (MEP) Paul Brannen, the event showcased the contribution of wood-based innovation to the European bioeconomy.
Mr Sampsa Auvinen, president of the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS) said: “Increasing the use of wood in construction and in everyday products plays an important role in tackling climate change, developing green jobs - particularly in rural areas - and boosting the bio-economy."
He also recalled that “Without doubt, wood is one of the most environmentally and sustainable friendly material. To address global challenges such as climate change, a growing population and resource scarcity, Europe must find pathways to produce goods, food and energy by using renewable organic materials more widely. In this sense, the promotion of timber construction is anchored in the bio-economy concept."
"The European sawmill industry makes market products with a small carbon footprint, from raw material procured from sustainably managed forests. Companies process hardwood and softwood for a wide ranges of construction and furniture products. The sawmill industry is the backbone of the bio-economy. Residues from sawmill processes can be converted into a broad range of wood-based products including bio-composite materials, bio-plastics, textiles and carbon-neutral biofuels. Simultaneously, the production of saw-logs, and the correlated use of by products and residues, complies with the resource efficiency principle, guarantees the highest profitability for forest owners and provides the raw materials needed for developing the bio-economy.”
The Director for the environmental department of the French research centre FCBA, Gerard Deroubaix offered a technical explanation of the wood products as carbon store. He underlined how the carbon footprint of construction products made of wood is, in a very large majority of cases, significantly lower than the carbon footprint of the products made of competing materials. He recalled that a recent study commissioned by the EU Commission and entitled “Climwood2030” presented calculations at European level showing that “the material use of wood products instead of functionally equivalent alternative products leads to a decrease of fossil based GHG emissions over the whole life cycle of about 1.5 à 3.5 t CO2 per ton of wood product”.
The role of timber in Architecture was presented by Andrew Waugh, from Waugh Thistleton Architects, who explained the latest achievements of building with wood. He presented the Dalston Lane Project that is the world’s largest CLT building: the ten-storey, 121-unit development is made entirely of CLT, from the external, party and core walls, through to the floors and stairs, weighing a fifth of a concrete building of this size, and reducing the number of deliveries during construction by 80 per cent. The ten-storey, 121-unit development, is made entirely of CLT, from the external, party and core walls, through to the floors and stairs, weighing a fifth of a concrete building of this size, and reducing the number of deliveries during construction by 80 per cent. Another example of wood application is the Murray Grove, the first urban housing project to be constructed entirely from pre-fabricated solid timber, from the load bearing walls and floor slabs to the stair and lift cores.
Finally, Per-Olof Weding, President of European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) emphasised that European Forests are constantly growing both in size and in volume of wood. This extremely positive fact is due to an active and sustainable forest management system that ensures the production capacity and resilience of forest ecosystems as a whole. He stressed that a vibrant European forestry sector can make the bio-economy the next major economic development and can bring real benefits to mitigate climate change.
[Photo courtesy of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Revolve Media]