Wood & Housing

If we built 200,000 houses with timber

it would store around

4 million tonnes of CO2 every year

Timber is the world’s most sustainable construction material. Substituting wood for other materials used in buildings and bridges could prevent 14 – 31% of global carbon emissions.


If the cement industry was a country, it would be the world’s third largest carbon emitter, accounting for around 8% of global carbon emissions. 


If we built 200,00 homes from timber it would store around 4 million tonnes of CO2 a year. No wonder timber is seen as the prime construction material for a sustainable future. 

Timber products also require fewer fossil fuels for their production and are more energy efficient than bricks, concrete AND steel. Timber offsite construction can reduce energy bills by up to 90%.


The combination of timber’s environmental credentials and performance characteristics offers the best solution for low-carbon sustainable construction and building management.

England needs to build 340,000 new homes a year over the next 12 years to accommodate its population.


A study by the University of Cambridge shows if all new English homes were constructed from timber, we could capture and offset the carbon footprints of around 850,000 people for 10 years.


As part of the APPG for Timber Industries, we’ve launched an inquiry on how timber can help solve the housing and climate crisis. 

Building with wood also means ...







Hear from award-winning architects ...

HoHo, Vienna

HoHo is a 24-storey commercial and residential building made of wood and concrete.


Rüdiger Lainer Architects combined 3600 m3 of Austrian Spruce in the form of glulam beams and CLT panels with concrete.

“The timber in the HoHo building gives a CO2 saving of 2,800 tonnes compared to building purely in steel and concrete.” – Rüdiger Lainer Architects

Holzfassade HoHo-Next © J.Zotter
MultiPly finished structure photography - Copyright Ed Reeve

MultiPly, London

Waugh Thistleton Architects and Arup used American Tulipwood to build this 9m high installation.


Part of London Design Festival, MultiPly lead visitors through a series of stairs, corridors and open spaces as a way of exploring the potential of wood in architecture.

“Super fast, super accurate, and also makes the most amazingly beautiful spaces.” – Waugh Thistleton Architects

Maggie's Oldham

dRMM Architects constructed Maggie’s Oldham with over 20 prefabricated panels of cross-laminated American Tulipwood, ranging from 0.5 metres to 12 metres long.


Timber is a key ingredient throughout, from the door handles and the slatted ceiling to the kitchen’s Walnut-topped counter.

“CLT has opportunities for significant advantages over steel, concrete or masonry construction in terms of environmental credentials, speed, weight, and structure as finish.” – dRMM Architects


Prefabricated timber means its construction is relatively quiet. This is beneficial when building near homes and offices.


Wood can be pre-engineered off site and delivered ready to erect into a form or structure, reducing the amount of deliveries.


Offsite construction can reduce waste by 90% and can reduce the risk of onsite worker injury by up to 80%. 


For example, the HoHo building required only 111 component delivers.  An equivalent concrete structure would need 700.


Building with wood is energy efficient with thermal insulation and can offer up to 90% reduction in heating bills.


It is 15 times more insulating than concrete, 400 times more than steel and 1700 times more than aluminium.


The build times for timber construction are up to 30% faster than for other materials.


It took only 10 weeks to build Bridport House, a CLT, 9-storey social housing building in Hackney, London.


Timber is considered to be vulnerable to fire because we know that it burns. But the important thing to understand about wood in fire is that it behaves predictably.


At temperatures of around 300°C, wood ignites and the burned wood chars at a predictable speed, forming an insulating layer that slows down the rise in temperature in the remaining timber.


Beyond 300°C, other construction materials, such as steel, can lose strength and their performance in a fire can become unpredictable.


Due to timber’s light weight, flexible and strong nature, wooden structures can meet or exceed even the most demanding seismic design requirements.


Timber has shown a good seismic response in earthquake-prone countries, such as the USA, New Zealand and Japan.