Julius Pasay, The Climate Trust
Weekly Policy and Finance Update – April 9, 2018
|Cross laminated timber can reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings.|
While forests are excellent carbon sinks, timber production and carbon sequestration are not incompatible. In fact, replacing carbon emitting materials with sustainably produced wood products in architectural applications can help move society towards a low carbon future. Specifically, cross laminated timber (CLT) has the potential to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings by replacing structural concrete.
Producing one ton of concrete emits nearly one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Sustainable wood production sequesters carbon. CLT is a relatively new, but proven, technology that can replace concrete in many large building applications. It is also easy to install, is fire and earthquake resistant, and can make for a much more attractive building.
Last week, innovators, builders, and forestry professionals came together at the International Mass Timber Conference here in Portland, Oregon to discuss CLT and it’s low carbon footprint and versatility. The choice of venue was appropriate as many of Portland’s new high-rise buildings are being constructed with CLT, and the largest CLT building in the U.S. is located right here in Hillsboro (First Tech Credit Union Campus). Major topics of discussion included the barriers to more widespread CLT use, such as the need to update buildings codes, as well as the benefits to sustainable, rural economies.
Forests are excellent carbon sinks and The Climate Trust strongly believes that preserving them is critical, however, sustainable forest products—composed of forest waste that is often burned—that displace carbon intensive products (i.e. concrete) is an inventive way to tackle the low carbon challenge. While we don’t invest in CLT as part of our carbon investment fund, we support the idea that this sustainable forest product can be part of an effective, carbon-friendly forest management strategy.
The future is here, let’s start living in it!
|A Comparative Cradle-to-Gate Life Cycle Assessment of Mid-Rise Office Building Construction Alternatives: Laminated TImber or Reinforced Concrete
Adam B. Robertson, et al., Buildings, 2012
|Looking at Timber and Seeing the Future of Home and Business
Laura Latham, The New York Times, June 9, 2016
Cross-Laminated Timber Could Lead a Mid-Rise Revolution
The Hidden Carbon Benefits of Cross Laminated Timber
Mik McKee, March 21, 2016
Broad Interpretation of Direct Environmental Benefit May Be Best Sheldon Zakreski, Mar 27, 2018
U.S. Accepts Global Aviation Market System Sheldon Zakreski, Mar 19, 2018
California Signals Long-Term Demand for Offsets Peter Weisberg, Mar 12, 2018
Image credit: Flickr/Mark Jensen