Over the centuries, humankind has used wood for a variety of purposes including construction. Indeed, since men moved out of naturally-formed shelters (such as caves) and started building homes, wood has always been a favorite building material. The features that made wood such a favored material are still in play today, in fact, one would argue that wood is even more important than ever. Modern technology has helped to eliminate some of the potential drawbacks that affected the use of wood, further pushing the position of wood up to the podium.
In this article, we explore why wood is the building material of the future.
Strong and Lightweight
The construction industry has used many different materials over the years, from steel to polymers and plastics. The truth of the matter is that wood still presents the best balance between strength, weight, and durability. Wood is lightweight, making it easy to handle. It also does not pose weight loads on the overall construction design, a factor that allows engineers to shape their buildings in many different ways. Despite all this flexibility, wood is strong and durable. This is emphasized by the numerous wooden buildings in Europe and elsewhere that are hundreds of years old.
Better for the Climate
Wood can be mass-produced these days, which means that using wood for construction is probably better for the environment. Using rigorous scientific approaches, scientists can produce wood that meets very specific technical requirements, making it an even better fit for the construction industry. Elements such as moisture level can be controlled, producing timber that is less likely to warp or rot. The fact that it is mass-produced also means that it is possible to trace the timber right from the source. By using an elaborate tracing system, it becomes easier for engineers to ensure that their timber is ethically sourced and produced. Such a system may be impossible for any other building material.
In an age where the release of carbon into the atmosphere is a major issue, it is becoming increasingly important to use building materials that require minimal processing and that can retain their carbon content. In this, it is hard to find any other material that even compares to timber. Wood requires minimal processing and tends to hold its carbon content for the lifespan of the product. This in turn means that using timber ensures minimal release of carbon into the atmosphere.
As the world moves to construction approaches such as prefabricated houses, wood is increasingly proving to be ideal when it comes to these futuristic building designs. Prefabricated homes, or homes that are built off-site and then installed on-site favor lightweight materials such as wood. The fact that wood is very malleable means that there are lower costs when it comes to transportation and installation of the pre-fabs.