Architects, engineers, developers and urban planners have a vision of cities as carbon sinks rather than sources. In addition to solar panels, rainwater collection, better design to limit heat gain and loss so buildings don’t use as much energy, the use of wood in constructing buildings can help store carbon in the built environment.
In addition, the manufacture and use of wood emits much less carbon dioxide than does concrete, steel or aluminum. There is a substitution benefit, the negawatt; less energy needs to be generated at the outset. As with electric vehicles, there is less energy used compared to the internal combustion engine.
Engineered wood, like glue-laminated beams, cross-laminated timber, laminated veneer lumber and others, allows the manufacture of large pieces of lumber from medium-sized trees. Suitable or high-rise buildings, these boards are lighter and stronger than steel and concrete. (Include some pictures and links to past articles) North America has recently adopted the CLT technologies developed in Europe and incorporated them into building codes.
By growing more forests in urban environments, the landscaping can capture more carbon while the plants are growing, but can also reduce the energy needed by shading the sun’s rays and buffering the wind.