Credit : Salina Kassam
The carbon capture power of wood makes it the go-to material for building a sustainable future.
Beautiful by Design
There’s no denying the beauty of wood, whether in spiffy flooring, a gorgeous mantel, or a fabulous table and chairs. But wood is so much more than just pretty decor or a structural element. In fact, it’s the material of the future. Unlike some of the most common building materials, wood captures carbon.
Building with wood is like moving the carbon capture potential of our forests into our cities. Wood construction creates the kind of carbon storage we need to build sustainable communities and tackle net-zero goals. And, stylish bonus, wood is also an on-trend look. “There is a wellness component to using wood: we respond positively to being surrounded by natural materials. We are natural creatures ourselves...Biophilia is our ingrained love of nature. When we design with natural materials, we surround the occupants of these spaces with an instinctively calming and positive environment,” says Carol Phillips, Design Leader and Partner at Moriyama Teshima Architects.
Canadian forestry - part of the climate change solution
Credit: Salina Kassam
Canada’s forest sector is focused on building a sustainable future, and the sector’s work helps maximize our ability to capture the potential trees have as carbon-sequestering machines. Trees capture carbon by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then storing it within the wood. So, when a tree is harvested, the carbon within it gets harvested too. That’s what makes forestry so innovative. It helps protect against climate change by thoughtfully managing carbon capture now while preserving forests for the future.
Carefully planned harvesting and replanting help renew a forest’s capacity to capture carbon for the next generation. Think about it. Wood is a carbon-negative material. It’s also renewable: Canada’s forest sector is sustainable because it only takes out what it puts back, all while respecting wildlife and biodiversity. Forestry that’s sustainable is not just about harvesting – it’s also about tending and regenerating.
Next-gen mass timber construction
Modern fabrication methods of wood create composite wood assemblies of mass timber. This material combines small pieces of timber to make massive panels, columns and beams suitable for the construction of larger structures. Face it, building will continue, so why not build the right way? “Mass timber is a renewable resource designed by nature to be a carbon sink,” continues Phillips.
Credit: Salina Kassam
Pictured above is Limberlost Place, a joint venture between Moriyama Teshima Architects and Acton Ostry Architects Ltd.
This stunning net-zero architectural feat at George Brown College in Toronto dispels the myth that wood can’t be used in large urban buildings, proving that capturing carbon in mass timber construction opens up a new world of design excellence. “As architects, we are the gatekeepers to the materials in our built environment. We can, do and should choose low-carbon materials and we can select those that are also beautiful,” states Phillips.
To learn more about the sustainability of Canada’s forest sector, visit Forestry for the Future!