PEFC: Sustainable timber foundation for green building

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The PEFC has billed certified sustainable timber as a core component for the development of green building worldwide, including Asia.

The certification body's chief executive Ben Gunneberg put forward the proposition at the Green Building and Sustainable Construction Conference organised by the Philippine Green Building Council in Manila.

The demand for housing, and environmentally sound housing in particular, is set to grow rapidlly in coming years, said Mr Gunneberg, with rapid expansion of urban populatons a key driver. And the pressure to pressure to build green will be particularly acute in Asia.

Mr Gunneberg was addressing an audience of representatives of government, buinsess, and NGOs which had gatherered at the event to discuss the full range of green building issues, from the key market drivers, to the materials used.

Timber and certified timber in particular could malke a vital contribution to the green building revolution, he said, with rapid urbanisation and population growth demanding "ingenious and innovative solutions from architects and the construction industry".

“You can already use lightweight materials such as cross laminated timber to build extra stories on existing buildings, and some architects are now predicting they will soon be able to build 30-storey structures using wood-based products,That's good news, considering that just over half of us live in cities already, and that number is expected to grow to 75% over the next 20 years.”

Gunnerberg also highlighted the advantages of using certified wood over uncertified, focusing on the results of a life cycle analysis study by Quantis, which found that just one cubic meter of non-certified wood is implicated in the "deforestation of an area of almost 5 square meters".

“The study also showed that the use of certified wood can reduce climate change impacts 15-fold, lead to an 8-fold reduction in human health impacts and a 3-fold reduction in ecosystem quality impacts,” he said.

So, he concluded, PEFC-certified timber provides architects and the construction industry with "great opportunities" both to meet housing need and build sustainably.

“In fact the possibilities are rather exciting in addressing the challenges of growing populations, especially in Asia where there is a need for housing constructed with as minimal environmental footprint as possible.”

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