Timber Engineering Europe
Eco Build - Environmentally Friendly Construction Method
At Timber Engineering Europe we all take environmental issues seriously and carefully
consider matters before we undertake any changes in our working practices or when we promote
It is essential that our planet earth enjoys the protection it deserves. We
believe that if we all make a contribution and choose carefully the world’s rapidly
disappearing resources can remain intact.
Clearly TIMBER plays a major role in the consumer
driven society in which we live and we must all work towards preserving that precious
commodity. When you browse this website you will understand WHY we choose wood and WHAT we
are doing to protect our planet and preserve our forests.
One of the major problems we have is global warming, which is caused we are told, by
excessive greenhouse gas emissions. The energy used in constructing, occupying and
operating a building accounts for around 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe.
We can, and have reduced this startling figure by using wood.
The responsible members of our industry in the main will only use wood, which has been
supplied by a ‘chain of custody’ accredited importer. Basically this means that
the wood we use is monitored from forest to factory.
The purpose of this is to ensure that only wood, which has come from a renewable source is used in manufacture. The
reason is that we replace everything we use and not only do we replace used timber, the forests of Europe
are growing each year by 252 million M3 this means that every year a new forest equivalent
to an area similar to Cyprus is created, and this is 30 times more than the total annual UK
use of harvested timber.
We know that trees take and store carbon from the atmosphere and
produce oxygen, so the more trees we have the less greenhouse gasses to damage our world.
The carbon extracted from the atmosphere is stored in the tree for life, even when used in
, which is the amount of energy required to manufacture a
component adds to the 40% carbon emission mentioned earlier so the less embodied energy we
need, the less carbon generated. Strength for strength concrete requires 5 times more
embodied energy than wood and steel 6 times more.
Burning fuel to generate heat also produces carbon emission through poorly built
property, so the better the build and the less fuel burned = less emissions. Because timber
frame can be insulated to very high levels and the whole building is engineered to a known
and acceptable level of emission, it is easier and cheaper to achieve the government demands
than using traditional materials. The UK has some of the strictest regulations in the world
and Timber Frame Construction meets and beats them all, as is the case throughout the world.
An alternative to burning fossil fuel is some form of micro generation system, which can
be: Solar Water Heating; Biomass Boilers; Photo-Voltaic Converters; Heat Pumps and Fuel
Cells; Hydroelectric or Wind-power. It is estimated that by 2030 in the UK alone, 14m
tonnes of Carbon could be removed using the above systems. The cost? £2.2bn p/a. The
question is “Who pays?” It is unlikely that the cost of the equipment would
ever be repaid in savings and then there is the consideration of the embodied energy used
to make environmental machinery. Planning rules also are quite stringent on these matters,
so even if you could afford this type of contribution to the environment, you may not get
permission. If David Cameron, Gordon Brown and even the Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks have
had planning applications refused for wind turbines – it does not bode well for us
Each timber frame house saves 4 tonnes of carbon each year over a traditional system
50,000 Timber Framed houses would save 200,000 tonnes of carbon, the
equivalent output of 70,000 x 1400cc cars driving 10,000 miles a year!
Chris Thorpe, Timber Engineering Europe