Wooden high rises eco-friendly replacement for concrete
Architects and engineers are reviving the use of wood as an eco-friendly replacement for concrete, as borne out by the completion of an eight-storey office building in Austria and residential block in London.
The LCT One building in Dornbirn, Austria, is a 'hybrid' building made from both wood and concrete and designed by Austrian architectural firm Cree. Assembled from solid panels made from layers of wood and other materials, the high-tech building has a central concrete core housing its lifts and utilities.
From a concrete foundation, vertical posts of glue-laminated wood (known as glulam) support hybrid floor panels made from more glulam beams embedded in reinforced concrete.
Made by sticking together smaller pieces of wood to create structural elements, glulam can resist compression better than concrete - but weighs much less and is more sustainable, the Daily Mail reports.
Cree claims that prefabricating the glulam elements of the building cuts construction time by half, guarantees quality and slashes the buildings' carbon footprint.
Concrete emits nearly its own weight in carbon dioxide as its produce; the raw material for wooden skyscrapers, by contrast, literally grows on trees and absorbs carbon from the air as it does so.
Residents of the 21 timber houses which make up Sinclair Meadows in South Shields area of London can sleep cosily in the knowledge that they live in the most eco-friendly social housing development in the UK.
Householders will benefit from some of the lowest energy bills in the country as the complex has the largest array of solar panels on domestic dwellings, which will provide electricity.