Towards sustainable construction
At present, up to 40% of the global energy consumption is attributed to buildings. Due to the carbon intensive energy production, it makes the building sector the single most significant industry in terms of global carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, the construction industry is directly linked to many other adverse environmental impacts, such as raw material extraction, landfill waste, and water consumption. With current projections predicting significant future increases in construction activities, it is critical for the sector, following the UN global sustainable development goal #9, to retrofit the industries towards increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies.
This session of the Aalto Sustainability Talks brings together experts to discuss steering construction to sustainable paths, especially in terms of wood construction. The presentations highlight the potential, but also pitfalls of wood construction from the view point of consumer individuals, and questions of sustainable wood supply and life cycles of wooden structures. This approach underscores apart from the materially defined impacts of construction, also the multiple social, economic, and political dimensions of construction activities, that are linked with several other sustainability targets.
Pekka Heikkinen, Professor of Practice, Department of Architecture
Architecture for the Anthropocene
Matti Kuittinen, Adjunct Professor of Resource-efficient construction at Aalto University School of ARTS, Department of Architecture
Abstract: Because of the ongoing global climate crisis and biodiversity loss that define the Anthropocene, the construction sector is about to face significant changes. These changes apply not only to the design of the buildings, but to the management of material and energy flows throughout the built environment. Although digitalisation will help in this quest, designers will need to train their senses beyond traditional sustainability thinking.
Wooden housing as a sustainable consumption choice
Juudit Ottelin, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Built Environment
Abstract: While the climate benefits of harvested wooden products (HWP) have been studied from the forest- and construction sectors point of view, the consumer perspective has received less attention. Sustainable consumption choices are not made in a vacuum, and one decision affects the others. What are the greenhouse gas implications of wooden housing on a consumer carbon footprint? Can consumers go "carbon negative"?
Wood construction and the need for a materials efficient future
Mark Hughes, Professor of Wood material technology at the Aalto School of Chemical Engineering
Abstract: The use of wood in buildings has frequently been promulgated as a means of making construction more sustainable. Is it as simple as this though? Although wood is a renewable resource there are limits to the sustainable harvesting of timber. What strategies should we adopt in order to make the most of our wood resources and minimize the environmental impact of construction?