Architect Seeks to Replace Concrete with Recycled Timber

UK architect and scientist, Dr Colin M. Rose from University College London (UCL) has been awarded the Flemming Bligaard Award of 65,000 EUR from the Danish Ramboll Foundation for his research and work to develop and promote cross laminated secondary timber (CLST) in the construction industry. 

Foundation Board member and Senior Group Director in Sustainability at Ramboll, Neel Strøbæk, explained the choice of Colin Rose: "11% of the world's total CO2 emissions come from the production of building materials, in particular steel and concrete. Colin's research on secondary timber can help us in the industry bring down the emissions, and we truly support his mission.
"The aim of Colin's research is to replace concrete and steel with a new mass timber product called CLST made out of reclaimed wood in layers, like scaled-up plywood. The use of CLST helps reduce CO2 emissions, as the timber contains less than half the embodied carbon of concrete and when sequestration is considered, timber has a carbon-negative impact."

Colin Rose who stepped away from architectural practice in 2013 to begin his research at UCL, said: "I am very grateful to receive Ramboll's support for this continued effort. On a global scale, we discard more than 5 billion tonnes of building materials. And in the UK alone, more than 1 million tonnes of wood are wasted annually. If we could channel just 10% of that material into CLST production, we would have enough CLST for 10,000 homes each year."
"There is green momentum in construction right now and within the next 10 years, it will be more attractive for to reuse building materials, such as timber. But industry and governments need to work closely together to create the market for that. One of the barriers is that buildings are often demolished without considering reuse, because it is not a good business case to take them down brick by brick. The reason being that the CO2 embodied in their materials isn't properly valued, and we rarely count the CO2 spent on new materials. Furthermore, we need to look at how we build, so that it will be easier in the future to separate and reuse materials." 

Read Structural Timber Magazine- Issue 26 here 

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