invezz.com: “Wood First” Rule Practical for UK at the Local Level

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An official “wood first” rule for government-funded construction projects in the UK can be an effective and energy-efficient way to green the industry. However, it will be more practical if implemented at the local, rather than the national level, claims timber investments portal (http://www.invezz.com).

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More and more governments have recognised timber for its advantages as a construction material.

LondoThe first ever UK Timber Industry Manifesto was issued last month, calling for sustainable wood production and increased use of timber in the construction industry. Issued by Wood for Good, an organisation aiming to increase public awareness about the benefits of timber, the document also suggests that that the UK government should adopt a “wood first” rule, where the material is being favoured in the construction of publicly funded projects.

According to timberinvestments.co, the “wood first” rule can be effective if implemented by local governments in the UK, especially in timber-dependent communities, where Forestry investments make up the majority of the job market and provide income for local households. At the national level, the website claims, the rule could face a significant backlash by lobbyists from rival industries and workers unions.

invezz.com gives as examples a number of countries, where such a rule, or similar initiatives, have already been adopted by the national governments. In 2009, Canadian province British Columbia adopted its Wood First Act, making timber the preferred material for all new publicly funded buildings, such as schools, libraries or sports centres. In May of the same year, in France, President Sarkozy in one speech instructed the building industry to increase the use of wood tenfold. invezz.com cites an article in Timber Industry Magazine, which says that the required minimum amount of wood in a single building in France was raised from 2dcm³ per m² to 20dcm³/m². In New Zealand, timber or timber-based products are the main construction materials in all government-funded buildings that are up to four floors high. And in the United States, following the Obama Administration’s official endorsement of wood as a green material, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack instructed the U.S. Forest Service to use primarily wood in new building construction.

The timber hype doesn’t come as a surprise. Its advantages over the commonly used concrete, brick and steel materials have long been proven. In fact, according to the Timber Industry Manifesto, the manufacturing process of steel requires 24 times more energy than timber does, and concrete production can contribute as much as 140kg of carbon dioxide per cubic meter. In addition, buildings made of sustainable timber have thermal insulation capacity, which is five times better than that of concrete, 10 times better than brick and 350 times better than steel.
Therefore, states invezz.com, it is practical to use timber for greening publically funded buildings. When it comes to endorsing the material by national governments, especially in tough economic times for industries across the board, the website suggests a less radical approach.

“More and more governments have recognised timber for its advantages as a construction material,” claims Tonka Dobreva of Dezz, the boutique media agency operating invezz.com. “Industry favouritism, however, can tamper with capitalist forces, which drive the economy. In an economic downturn, the consequences can be dire,” she explains.
invezz.com says “wood first” policies should be adopted by local UK governments, so that the harmful side effects on other industries are lessened. Gradually changing the job and industrial landscapes at the regional level rather than drastic shifts at the national level will likely make government officials more willing to cooperate. For this reason, the timber investments website suggest that Wood for Good should tailor their recommendations to regional governments. At the same time, industry experts should advise on a framework for the most effective implementation of these new regulations.

To read the full article and to get more information about timber investments, visit http://invezz.com/analysis/alternative-investments/forestry-investments-a-guide-to-available-mechanisms

About Dezz
Dezz is a UK-based boutique digital media company providing original and reliable up-to-date information in the area of carbon credit trading and sustainable investments to large investment company decision makers, NGOs and to eco-minded individuals. Dezz Limited, 843 Finchley Road, London, NW11 8NA. Registered in England and Wales as a Limited Company. Company Number: 07376661

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