Hunton’s construction solutions help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Carbon footprint: All GHG/GHG emissions caused by a country’s consumption, including investments and people, households and the public sector’s consumption.
Wood binds carbon.
CO2, or carbon dioxide, is one of many greenhouse gases*, but of the anthropogenic greenhouse gases, CO2 constitutes about 88%.
Because wood binds carbon, forests and the use of wood products are considered a solution in the reduction of CO2 emissions.
Wood can potentially bind on average as much as 1.8 kg of CO2 per kg of wood (when measuring quantity of emissions). Every year, Norwegian forests bind about 25 million tonnes of CO2. The extraction and use of wood from the forest binds an additional 10 million tonnes of CO2. No other material, such as steel, concrete or mineral products, can compare with this.
* Greenhouse gases are gases that affect climate and contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Trees contribute to the maximum possible reduction in CO2 emissions through the following:
- The forest binds CO2.
- Mature forests are used in the product.
- Wood products can be produced with a low consumption of fossil energy and a high proportion of renewable energy/bioenergy.
- Light wood material provides climate benefits during transport as more material can be transported.
- The longer the life cycle of wood products is extended, the more CO2 is bound.
- Wood products replace other products of less sustainable materials like steel, concrete, aluminium, plaster and mineral wool, (which usually emits more CO2 in the production process).
- The wood product is recycled.
- The recycled product is used for energy, and the amount of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, is reduced.
In 2011, more than 80% of the world’s energy consumption came from fossil fuels.
Wood fibre insulation further reduces the carbon footprint.
Climate gas emissions from buildings are generated first and foremost from heating.
Norwegian buildings account for 35% of energy consumption on the mainland. In other words, there is enormous potential for more sustainable energy use.
The CO2 bond
When trees grow, they consume CO2 from the air. The tree uses the carbon as building material and binds this, while the oxygen is released again (photosynthesis).
In other words, carbon, and not CO2, is stored in the timber, but to demonstrate how much CO2 is stored, the carbon is calculated into CO2.
When a tree has consumed 1 kg of carbon, 1.8 kg of CO2 has been bound.
Norwegian forests bind more than half of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the country. In addition, a typical small house contains 14 to 22 cubic timber, so the wood will bind about 2.9 tonnes of carbon throughout the house’s lifetime, which is equivalent to about 11 tonnes of CO2.
Every year, approximately 3 million cubic timber in Norway is used, which suggests that approximately 675,000 tonnes of carbon binds 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 in buildings, furniture and other wood products.
When trees rot or die, the bound carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Therefore, there is a significant environmental benefit to chopping mature forests and using this in production so that the CO bond is extended.