Wood offers tangible pathways to reduce CO2 emissions of construction

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Tackling climate change calls for radically changing the materials we build with. Metsä Wood explores and develops wood-based solutions that complement and replace carbon-intensive construction materials, considerably lowering the CO2 emissions of buildings. Innovation plays a key role on the path towards net zero infrastructure. 

Adding wood where it makes a difference
The built environment is estimated to account for 37% of CO2 emissions worldwide. Rigorous re-engineering of how we build is needed as the amount of raw materials used for construction is predicted to double by 2060 – with steel and concrete being already major contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. 1

“Most of the carbon footprint of construction comes from the building materials. The construction industry is now seeking more sustainable alternatives, so we are seeing growing interest in construction material based on renewable raw materials,” says Jaakko Anttila, Executive Vice President at Metsä Wood. 

Using wood originating from sustainably managed forests in construction is an efficient way to lower the weight of the building and the CO2 emissions throughout the life cycle. By replacing steel and concrete with wood emission savings can be achieved without compromising the structural performance, fire or sound insulation qualities. Wood also has unique carbon storing qualities, and using wood instead of concrete allows the construction process to reduce its dependence on the extraction of non-renewable resources like sand and gravel, which are associated with detrimental effects to biodiversity. The storage time of biobased carbon in wooden construction elements can be further extended by reuse models. 2,3,4

Sustainability for the builders of tomorrow
Metsä Wood is currently developing different kinds of solutions with its partners to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and to increase the carbon storage capabilities. For example, the company has initiated a cross-industry collaboration to create synergy benefits by combining concrete and wood in future building structures.  It has been estimated that a hybrid wall element combining concrete and Kerto® LVL can achieve up to 70 percent lower carbon footprint compared to traditional concrete wall element. 5

“Metsä is actively investing in the future. In many applications our products replace fossil and other non-renewable materials and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is an important global climate action. We are increasing the production capacity of long-life wood products which have carbon-storing benefits.” says Maija Pohjakallio, VP Climate and Circular Economy at  Metsä Group.

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Media files

1: https://globalabc.org/our-work/tracking-progress-global-status-report
2: https://www.metsagroup.com/metsawood/news-and-publications/references/port-of-amsterdam/
3: https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/biodiversity-report

4: https://lowcarbonbuilding.fi/emission-reduction-potential
5: https://www.metsagroup.com/metsawood/news-and-publications/news/2023/concrete-manufacturer-heidelberg-materials-precast-contiga-and-metsa-wood-develop-new-hybrid-element/

For more information, please contact:

Henni Rousu, Marketing Director, Metsä Wood
tel. +358 40 554 8388, henni.rousu@metsagroup.com

Metsä Group

Metsä Group is leading the way in advancing the bioeconomy. We invest in growth, bioproduct development and a fossil free future. The raw material for our products is renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. We focus on the growth sectors of the forest industry: wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards, as well as tissue and greaseproof papers.  

Metsä Group’s annual sales amount to approximately EUR 7 billion, and we have around 9,500 employees in 30 countries. Our international Group has its roots in the Finnish forests: our parent company is Metsäliitto Cooperative which is owned by more than 90,000 forest owners.  

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Metsä Wood

Metsä Wood is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of engineered wood products. We process valuable log wood into environmentally friendly products for the construction and transport industries, which are both megatrend-driven businesses of the future. Our main products are Kerto® LVL, birch and spruce plywood and further processed sawn timber. Material-efficient wood products store carbon and play an important role in combatting climate change.  
In 2022, our sales totalled approximately EUR 0.7 billion, and we have around 1,550 employees. Metsä Wood is part of Metsä Group. 

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