A wooden world

Environmental challenges. Today we are at a moment in history that seems to be a transition to new models of organizing our society. The exploitation of natural resources of the planet and the abuse of an open cycle of production and consumption of energy has led to the alteration of the balance of Earth. Evidence of this disorder is most famous global warming.

Wood as a solution. Even if we assume the irreversible effects of climate change, it is essential to reduce CO2 emissions and try to sequester from the atmosphere what has already been emitted since the industrial revolution. There have still not been invented energetically efficient artificial processes to do so. Fortunately, the photosynthesis of plants makes this job naturally. Spontaneous fires and rotting of trees is the natural way to carbon to get back to the atmosphere. If we incorporate young wood within the human built environment, we would be sequestering carbon while avoiding the consumption of fossil energy to produce other materials such as steel, cement and ceramics. Any energetic and economic analysis of construction must use life-cycle assessment (LCA) as a key tool.

Cultural migration on construction. Countries of mineral building tradition like ours will find a more complicated migration to vegetal construction. However, the development of the wood industry during the ’90s in European countries offered new technologies of extraordinary possibilities. While Canada and the United States are highly working to achieve the construction of their skyscrapers with wood, in our country we now have a material solid enough to give continuity to the needs of solidity associated to habitable buildings in our collective imagination.