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Tall buildings should be more sustainable, expert says

Many tall buildings are being constructed around the globe and it has been suggested that they could be greener if more timber was used in their construction.

Michael Green, an architect from Vancouver, has been championing the use of sustainable timber in skyscrapers. If his ideas catch on, it could lead to more wood flooring being used in Liverpool and other similar cities. Green has said:

“We’re not trying to throw away concrete and steel – we’re trying to adjust the proportions, and increase the amount of timber.”

The architect has explained that the threat of climate change has been influencing his material selection. Concrete has a high carbon footprint like steel does. Timber can partially substitute for these choices to limit the environmental impact of buildings.

Green has expressed his enthusiasm for using trees sensibly for construction purposes. In his view, this means harvesting young trees and replanting them swiftly to increase the absorption of carbon dioxide. When a building becomes obsolete, he has made clear that he believes any timber in it should be recycled.

Making cement, a key ingredient in concrete, is an activity which accounts for 5 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions produced by humans. This reportedly has a greater impact on the temperature of the planet than the aviation sector does. With conventional skyscrapers being built using large quantities of concrete, it seems only logical that an alternative is sought out.

Green does not recommend the use of just any type of wood however; his designs are intended to work with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) because this material ticks the boxes from the perspective of stability.

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