The World’s Most Advanced Building Material Is… Wood

“But the biggest driving force behind the turn toward wood is a growing awareness among architects and developers about their field’s contribution to climate change. “Our industry leads all others in terms of its impact on the planet and human health,” Waugh says. Concrete and steel require enormous amounts of energy to produce and transport, generating more than a ton of carbon dioxide per ton of steel or concrete.

Wood, on the other hand—even engineered wood like CLT, which requires additional energy to cut and press into sections—is far more environmentally friendly. According to Wood for Good, an organization that advocates for sustainable wood construction, a ton of bricks requires four times the amount of energy to produce as a ton of sawn softwood; concrete requires five times, steel 24 times, and aluminum 126 times. Wood also performs better: It is, for example, five times more insulative than concrete and 350 times more so than steel. That means less energy is needed to heat and cool a wood building.”

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