COP21 discusses buildings and construction

At this year’s COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris, world leaders will discuss the role that buildings and construction plays in global climate change. December 3 marks the first “Building Day” for the annual conference.

The day will be filled with discussions, talks, videos, and other events. Building Day promises that it “…provides an opportunity to launch an unprecedented alliance of organizations collectively committed to:

Helping to put the buildings and construction sector on the “below 2 °C path.
Aligning existing initiatives, commitments and programmes to achieve greater scale and increase the pace of efficiency actions.
Catalysing stronger collaboration and targeting sectoral and cross sectoral climate action and solutions for all.”

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction explains that buildings are a primary focus for the climate change conference because more than 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are building-related, a number which could double by 2050 unless changes are made.

Learn more about Building Day at COP21, see case studies, and get updates on the United Nations Environment Programme Building Day website.

Opinion: Support tall wood buildings in Maine

Portland Press Herald just published an opinion column focused on why more tall wood buildings should be built in Maine. In “Maine Voices: It’s time to build ‘plyscrapers’ here,” author Lee Burnett explains that Maine is the most heavily forested state in the country, with forests in over 85% of the land. Burnett describes Maine’s working forests as “…the engines in this story. They inhale carbon from the air and store it benignly in trunks, branches and roots.”

The article goes on to clarify that large amounts of carbon in the atmosphere is not good, but carbon stored in trees and wood products are the best solution. Emphasizing the role of forests, Burnett states, “Forests can become climate-benefit multipliers when the harvest is shifted toward lumber and other long-lived products that displace energy-intensive building materials such as aluminum, concrete and steel.” The article concedes other countries are building tall wooden buildings with ease and Portland could be the next supporter.

Read the full article at the Portland Press Herald.

American Wood Council and reThink Wood host panel discussion

The American Wood Council and reThink Wood recently hosted a panel discussion called “Urban Sustainability, Rural Prosperity” in Washington, D.C. The panel event focused on the potential for greater use of wood in construction of tall buildings. The panel included U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell, architect Michael Green, Dr. Jim Bowyer of Dovetail Partners, Inc., and Kathleen Sims, Vice President of Government Affairs for Plum Creek Timber Company. Opening remarks were made Steve Lovette of Softwood Lumber Board and Jennifer Cover of WoodWorks, while American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski moderated.

The event was hosted in part to celebrate National Forest Products Weeks. The panel discussed green buildings, engineered wood products, sustainable forestry, and life-cycle analysis of building products.

You can watch the entire event on the American Wood Council’s YouTube channel or watch below.

Read more about the event and view presentation slides on the American Wood Council 2015 Forest Products Week page.