Research Engineer Howard Darby attended The Sustainable Building Conference, SB13 Munich in April this year and presented a paper on his research into embodied carbon in buildings.
SB13 Munich is part of a major international series of conferences that focus on sustainable building and construction, and which have become recognized as the world’s pre-eminent conference series in this important field.
The series are run by a partnership of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), the International Initiative for a Sustainable Built Environment (iiSBE), the Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative (SBCI) of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC).
Howard’s paper described a research case study of a 7-storey residential building in the UK using ‘cross laminated timber’ construction, and demonstrated the benefits of this form of construction in terms of reduced embodied carbon emissions and long term carbon storage within the structure and fabric of the building.
One of the outcomes from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP17 in March 2012 was that, for the first time, the carbon stored in wood and other bio-renewable building materials would be included in national greenhouse gas inventories for the proposed second committal period, beginning on 1 January this year (2013). Therefore, stored carbon in wood building products can contribute towards the UK’s national carbon reduction targets.
Defra’s Independent Panel on Forestry have recognised this and have recommended the introduction of a“Wood First” policy for construction projects to increase the use of wood in buildings. Strong demand for timber building products is a key driver for increasing the area of UK forest and woodland, which would have many environmental, social and economic benefits, including the resulting amount of stored carbon in the growing trees, surrounding soil and the harvested wood products.