In the search for construction materials with a lower environmental impact, many architects and engineers are betting on the use of wood in their constructions. According to a report by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 18% of the world's population lives in wooden houses. In the United States around 90% of the houses are made of wood, followed by Canada with 85%, Finland, Norway and Sweden with 80% and Australia and New Zealand around 70%.
In Spain there is no census of wooden houses, but according to the Association of Manufacturers and Builders of Wooden Houses of Spain (AFCCM), the figure can reach 20,000 houses. In our country, there are still prejudices since it is thought that these houses are not consistent, however when the raw material is good, the quality can be superior to traditional constructions.
Advantages of wooden building constructions
Greater speed and efficiency in construction:
The speed of construction is due to the ease of moving and subsequent installation of the construction parts, which involve a lower amount of C02, waste and machinery traffic.
Less noise pollution during construction:
In the construction of wooden buildings, less noise is produced than in any work built in the traditional way.
Better thermal insulation and reduction of energy costs:
Thanks to the fact that wood is a natural thermal insulator, energy costs are significantly reduced to maintain the appropriate temperature in homes.
Lower production cost per useful meter:
houses with wooden structures can be up to 15% cheaper per useful meter compared to traditional constructions.
Possible drawbacks of wooden constructions
Risk of fire
One of the concerns of wooden buildings is the risk of fire. Although fine wood burns immediately, thick wood does not burn as easily as the outer surface, when charred, protects the inner one.
These types of considerations have already been taken into account in other wooden buildings, such as the 7-storey wooden office building by Tamedia in Zurich. There, the Japanese architect Shiger u Ban, for the construction of said building, first calculated the necessary thickness for the structure, and then added a few extra centimeters, which are the ones that could be consumed in case of fire, to protect the interior of the pieces of wood.
Destruction of the tree mass
The wood used in the structure of this type of building comes from "farmed forests" that are currently expanding. In countries like Canada, where wooden houses represent 80-90% of constructions, they expect to produce more than 15,000 million m3 of wood from cultivated forests in the next 70 years, which would be enough to house billions of people.
Advantages of the Construction of Wooden Buildings
If this premise is fulfilled in which more trees are replaced than are cut down, and consumption planning is respected taking into account the speed of tree growth, the environmental balance should be ensured. The sustainable management of our forests is a point that continues to generate much controversy with critics of the use of wood.