By Karin Zauner.
Co-Founder of Housing4Europe.Org
Q: You are the CEO of Wood Real Estate. What does your company offer?
We offer zero emission real estate development and consulting for office buildings, multi-apartment-buildings, and development for high rise wood buildings up to 100 meters. We also provide a high level of competence in the field of net zero cities and quality management during the construction process.
Q: What are the advantages of wood as a construction material?
There are a lot of advantages, since wood is a zero-emission construction material. If you use wood, you are 30% faster in your construction process. Another advantage is the offside manufacturing in the factory and the fact, that wood is a renewable material. Furthermore, working with wood ensures work for local craftsmen. But there are also a lot of prejudices and fairy tales about timber construction. In my daily consultation, I always try to enlighten investors about building with wood.
Q: What are common prejudices against wood in the construction sector?
The biggest concerns about building with wood are that timber could cause complications with the fire regulations. People are afraid that the wood comes from the rain forest and that the building is at risk from the growth of mold. Many people also think that wooden buildings are more expensive than those made of concrete. We shouldn’t forget that the concrete industry has been doing a very effective marketing for many, many years and has ridiculed timber construction as a cheap type of construction. After the Second World War, concrete was known as a building material of the future. But today many people recognize how environmentally harmful concrete is!
Q: Are wooden multi-apartment-buildings more expensive than houses made of bricks or concrete? Can they be used for social housing?
Timber hybrid constructions are perfect for social housing! We have different very successful projects in Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg. The costs are 3-5% higher but the construction process is max. 45% faster.
Q: How can it be ensured that sustainably produced wood is used?
In Germany we have various certificates for regional wood. It is very important to use only regional and certified wood. Many timber construction companies only use wood from local sawmills. It doesn’t make any sense to ship timber around the world! Sustainability can only work locally.
Q: If wood is the building material of the future, do we have enough sustainably managed forests worldwide to switch from concrete to wood (to reduce carbon emissions)?
I am convinced that we must stop burning wood and use it as a construction material. We also must reforest massively to protect the climate. Wood must be used where it stores carbon dioxide for a particularly long time and that in buildings.