cross laminated timber, Northstowe project, sustainable,

A webinar hosted by Stora Enso, with The B1M showcased the case study of the Northstowe Learning Community in Cambridgeshire, a 15,000m2 project that utilised cross laminated timber to meet sustainability targets and provide space for students

Rory Doak, business development manager UK & Ireland at Stora Enso, said: “The biggest impact of the Northstowe project is that there’s nearly 3,000 tons of CO2 stored in the building that’s not getting put back into the atmosphere.”

Pair this with the reduction of up to 75% of CO2 emissions that can be achieved using wooden construction methods versus concrete and steel processes, and it’s clear to see how building with wood can contribute to this journey.

Biophilic design nature of wood

The panellists shared insights on its positive impact on the health and well-being of children as studies have shown that the material can improve concentration and reduce stress.

With the return to classrooms post-pandemic in motion, this will be an incredibly important factor for educational authorities and construction players to consider.

Despite the benefits of wood as a strong, versatile, and sustainable material, the webinar also assessed the barriers to adopting cross laminated timber as a construction material. For example, concerns around technical performance exist, as does a miseducation on cost-effectiveness.

Dayo ShittuBalogun, associate at EURBAN, partner from Stora Enso, said: “We’re coming across a lot of risk aversion as people still consider wood construction as a new way of doing things.

“People consider it to be a bit more expensive, but through some benchmarking work we established that if you’re talking in simplistic terms, the structural skeleton of a building is either equal or cheaper – and more work needs to be done to communicate that this is the case.”

“We all have a commitment to not pour more CO2 into the atmosphere than we take out of it, so there is a moral obligation for all of us across the industry – and where better to see this play out than in an educational setting? This is exactly what we like to do, deliver buildings efficiently and sustainably.”

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