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Building with wood is a climate-friendly option – the Wood Wonders exhibition provides five interesting viewpoints on construction

Forest wood used in buildings can bind carbon for centuries. Wood is a strong and versatile building material that improves indoor air quality, reduces the need for heating and air conditioning – and provides pleasure.
Wood Wonders: Kokoon house scale model. Photo: Anne Kinnunen
Kokoon modular living system is made of wood. Photo: Anne Kinnunen

We need sustainable alternatives to our current lifestyle. Construction and housing account for approximately 40% of our carbon dioxide emissions, making solutions in these areas particularly important in combating climate change.

From the perspective of sustainability, the greatest challenges in construction and housing are high energy consumption in the manufacturing of concrete and steel, the growing demand for non-renewable materials, a lack of recycling practices in the construction industry, and chemicals that are harmful to human health.

Wood Wonders exhibition poster by Cvijeta Miljak
Graphic design: Cvijeta Miljak

Wood has superpowers

As a raw material, wood can provide solutions to all of the above challenges in construction and housing. The Wood Wonders exhibition at Helsinki airport showcases the strengths of wood.

If all the buildings constructed in Finland each year were made of wood, the amount of wood needed for the construction would grow back in ten hours.

When used thoughtfully, wood helps us reduce our carbon footprint, as wood-bound carbon is stored in buildings even for centuries.

Wood stores carbon and is a versatile, renewable and recyclable building material. Wood structures can reduce energy consumption in housing. The chemical structures of wood may replace oil-based chemicals, plastics and adhesives which are harmful to the environment.

Sustainability requires cooperation that stretches across disciplines and borders. Wood expertise is one great example of this, and the Wood Wonders exhibition brings together Aalto University's multidisciplinary research and development projects from three different schools and over twenty different researchers and experts.

As trees grow, they bind carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. At the same time, a strong and sustainable building material is formed. When used thoughtfully, wood helps us reduce our carbon footprint, as wood-bound carbon can be stored in buildings even for centuries.

In terms of the climate, it is important to extend the life cycle of wood products – in other words, to reduce their short-term use as an energy source, paper or packaging. We need to develop wood products that have a long life cycle and that can be recycled for a long time.

Reduce your carbon footprint
– Plant trees
– Use wood in construction and interior design
– Reuse and recycle wood
– Develop wood-based bioproducts

Finnish forest

It's equally important to ensure that more trees are growing than are being used. We need to develop carbon-sequestering forest management as well as use logging methods that are less harmful to the forest ecosystem.

Casted Wood by Heidi Turunen. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti
Samples of casted wood that is made of sawdust and nanocellulose. Doctoral student Heidi Turunen has been developing recyclable and toxic free cellulose products for building. Photo: Eeva Suorlahti

Wood works wonders

In addition to the environmental benefits, wood is a luxurious and impressive building material. 

Take a look at our virtual exhibition and explore the achievements of Finnish wood construction research and architecture.

Wood Wonders was designed by a multidisciplinary team with members from three of the Aalto schools, and it will open in entrance hall 2B at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport on 5 February 2020. The exhibition is part of the long-term passenger experience collaboration with Finavia.

The Finnish Ministry of the Environment has supported the exhibition. 

#woodwonders

Wood Wonders exhibition showcases climate-friendly building concepts

If all the buildings constructed in Finland each year were made of wood, the amount of wood needed for the construction would grow back in ten hours.

See the virtual exhibition
Wood Wonders exhibition at Helsinki airport. Photo: Anne Kinnunen
Luukku House was designed to have a low carbon footprint. Photo by Anne Kinnunen

Growing demand for climate-friendly construction: could wood architecture become one of Finland’s exports?

The Wood Wonders exhibition to be opened at Helsinki Airport on the 5th of February will show passengers the innovations related to wood construction and display the sector’s latest developments.

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Architect doing handson work at the Wood Program of Aalto University. Photo by Anne Kinnunen

Wood Program

The Wood Program is a one-year program of study that focuses on wood architecture and industrial building. The program is intended for architects, engineers and other students with a background in design and strong interest in timber construction.

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