Over 100 years ago, the method of building buildings changed dramatically when the first skyscraper, the “Home Insurance Building”, was built in Chicago. At that time, the idea of a 10-story building was unthinkable however, with a revolutionary steel structure, the “Home Insurance Building” opened doors to a generation of skyscrapers all over the world.
We are currently undergoing another architectural shift with the introduction of skyscrapers created with our building material of choice, Wood. Although concrete and steel structures have proven to be 2 viable building materials, it takes a lot of energy to produce them. According to architect Michael Green, mentioned that in his TED Talk “Why We Should Wooden Skyscarpers”, steel represents approximately 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, and concrete represents about 6% to 8%. As Michael Green explained: “If we want to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and energy, Madeira is the solution.
A tree during its life, observe CO2 from the environment, storing the carbon inside the wood, leaves, roots and soil. When a tree dies, it slowly releases carbon into the atmosphere or land. In the event of a forest fire, that same carbon is also released into the atmosphere. However, when a tree is harvested for manufacture, much of this carbon will remain stored. Therefore, when we use wood in the construction of a building, it will keep carbon out of the atmosphere.
To quote Michael Green: “There is no other building material that is grown by the sun. We calculate that North American forests produce enough wood for a 20-story wooden building every 8-10 minutes.” His firm, MGA Architects, estimates that a 20-story building, compared to one made of steel and concrete, has the same impact on reducing our carbon footprint as taking 900 cars off the road a year.