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Using wood in construction industry helps preserve forests, says WWF-Brazil

We have a concept that the forest is untouchable, but it is not. The degradation of  Amazon is not linked to forestry activity, it is linked to livestock and agriculture, mainly. So, the more wood we use in the construction industry, more we will have forests”, says the architect Roberto Lecomte, a partner of the WWF-Brazil environmental organization.

He explained that for the responsible businessman timber to be able to develop a profitable economic activity, they need to have market. “We think that using wood destroy the forest and, actually, using the wood preserves the forest because he [businessman timber] knows that the wood brings a financial return”, said, observing Finland, for example, it owns 8% of the world’s timber market and has 80% of original forests.

The WWF-Brazil  launched this week  a space at Casa Park mall, in Brasilia, to promote the sustainable and responsible use of wood in the construction industry. The goal is to put the wood back on the market, showing that there are technologies and aesthetic solutions that allow the use of this material.

Amazon has great potential for wood production

The WWF-Brazil conservation specialist, Ricardo Russo, explained that Amazon has a very large potential for timber production and that there are techniques for managing the forest without permanent damage. He emphasizes, however, that we must be aware of the origin of the wood, which must be traced or certified. “We took from our speech the term ‘legal timber’, because a timber that comes from authorized deforestation is legal, but it is not sustainable,” he said.

“We also want to get two images out of people’ heads: the wooden board house and the jungle and the prefabricated house that gathers and bends”, he said, counting that today there are specific technologies for wood, such as glued laminated wood and wood frame.According to Russo, it is wrong to think that replacing wood with aluminum, for example, is more sustainable. He explains that traditional building processes are responsible for 47% of carbon emissions and 60% of solid waste from the cities.

The energy incorporated to produce in wood is also much lower, according to the expert, 1,750 kilowatt/hour per cubic meter of cement to 350 kilowatt hours per cubic meter of closed and laminated wood.

He tells that a company from Paraná is already working in housing estates in wood frame. “They have already built a four-story building in 180 hours, entirely made of wood and that accepts other coatings. So if the person does not like the appearance of the wooden house, it may have one that does not look like wood”, he said, emphasizing the strength, safety and durability of the wood, which is still lighter and easier to handle.

Different from what many people think, building in wood is not more expensive than in brickwork, according to Russo, since construction time and waste generation are smaller, what is missing is knowledge. He says that the loss of material in a brickwork building is estimated at 30% and the time is 40% higher than a wood frame house. “Beyond to the sustainability bill,” he said.

How is the exhibition?

The WWF Space is 20 square meters, but has a roof that advances over the common areas of the mall and adds a total area of ​​115 square meters. The intervention on the roof of the shopping center has the first structural wooden beam with double curvature of Brazil.

To build the stand, 10 cubic meters of wood were used, divided into more than 500 pieces, both structural and decorative.

About 6 tons of carbon are stockpiled at the booth, Russo said. The use of wood in construction is also a tool in combating the damage caused by climate change, since wood stocks carbon that would be released into the atmosphere and would aggravate existing climate problems.

In its assembly, the stand joins two technologies: glued laminated wood, which allows curved designs on wood pieces and was used on the ceiling; and the utilization of tropical wood, which constitutes the floor and the decorative elements. The glued laminated wood is eucalyptus (pinus) and tropical wood is cambará, also known as mandioqueira.

The architect Roberto Lecomte is one of the responsible for the work. WWF-Brazil coordinates the program ‘Madeira é Legal’, a protocol of intent – signed by 26 institutions – that focuses to encourage the use of certified wood in Brazilian civil construction. It is possible to know more about the project and the advantages of building with wood in the website