The forests of Alberta are one of the most important natural resources we have. Alberta’s forest companies are committed to making sure that our forests remain sustainable forever.
Building with Wood
The building sector creates up to 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The production of materials like steel and concrete takes a heavy toll on the environment, and finding alternatives is an important part of the global fight to curb climate change.
Our forests provide us with one of the best alternatives.
The art of Biophilic design
As Canadian architect, Michael Green, shares in his TED Talk, no two pieces of wood anywhere on earth are exactly the same. That unique, organic quality brings the wonder of nature into our buildings and reminds us that we’re part of something bigger than ourselves, a beautiful and complex natural environment that sustains all life on Earth. As you might expect in a province that’s over 60% forest, wooden architectural gems built with wood can be found all across Alberta.
Timber is strong enough to be used as a structural element. Biophilic design – the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environments - aims to bring humans back into a closer union with our natural surroundings. The technology behind mass timber products, which are made by bonding smaller wood components together with fire-resistant glue; not only are they just as strong as concrete or steel, but they’re also a fraction of the weight allowing us to safely build larger and taller wood structures. The Mjøsa Tower in Norway is currently the world’s tallest at 18 storeys, and Alberta building codes were recently adjusted to allow wood structures up to 12 storeys.
Building with sustainably sourced wood
Building with sustainably sourced wood can actually help the environment. When trees are converted to building materials, instead of burning or decaying, the carbon they absorbed over their lifetime stays trapped in the wood. The areas that were harvested are then replanted, and the cycle starts again – regenerating forests capture more carbon, and the carbon that was already absorbed stays locked away. Living forests and wood buildings both serve as carbon sinks, working simultaneously to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.
When other building materials are replaced with wood in building design, the benefit goes even further. Not only does wood store carbon, but we reduce the emissions that would have been produced by using less sustainable materials.