Friday Sep 29, 2023
Friday Sep 29, 2023

Living in timber houses help save 100 billion tonnes of CO2

2022 Oct 20, 10:58, Germany
Representative Image (Photo: ANI)

According to new research from Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), living in timber cities could reduce emissions.

According to the latest analysis, sheltering a growing population in dwellings built of wood rather than conventional steel and concrete could save more than 100 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions until 2100. These amount to around 10% of the remaining carbon budget for the 2°C climate objective.

In addition to harvesting from natural forests, freshly created timber plantations are required for the supply of construction wood. Even while this has little effect on food supply, scientists warn that biodiversity may suffer if the situation is not carefully managed.

The research is the first to look at the impacts of a widespread shift to timber cities on land use, emissions from land use change, and long-term carbon sequestration in harvested wood products. Nature Communications published the findings.

Wood is recognised as a renewable resource having the lowest carbon impact of any similar building material since trees absorb CO2 from the environment as they develop. 

The scientists used the open-source global land use allocation model MAgPIE to analyse four distinct land-use scenarios: one with traditional building materials like cement and steel, and three with increased demand for wood on top of the regular demand for wood. They also investigated the sources of the increased demand for wooden building materials, as well as the potential consequences of direct and indirect land-use-related carbon emissions.

Increasing forest harvest levels while protecting the most valuable forests

Scientists have investigated the effects of replacing natural ecosystems with timber plantations on biodiversity. 

Changing to a vegetarian or vegan diet, for example, may help free up land for food and timber production while protecting biodiversity, according to another study.


Living in timber houses help save 100 billion tonnes CO2 New Research Germany Potsdam Institute climate impact research PIK reduce emissions Nature Communications
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