Fast, urban wood construction is a sustainable choice

Wood construction is the solution when new storeys need to be added to old apartment buildings and when available land is limited. Jussi Björman explains the benefits of light and environmentally friendly Kerto® LVL in construction.  

People around the world are moving to cities, which increases the need for construction in urban areas. There is limited space available, which means that construction must take place on small plots of land or on top of existing buildings. For example, in Bonn in Germany, 6.6 million square metres of land areas is taken up by residential buildings. Additional storeys could be built on around 27% of the buildings in this area. This means 20,000 new apartments.

We need to increase the understanding and use of wood in construction

Metsä Group’s Urban Carbon project seeks to increase an understanding of urban living and construction. One solution for modern construction is hybrid construction, which meets the growing needs of sustainable, fast and light construction.

Wood is currently the only renewable building material that can be used for large-scale construction. For example, the forest needed for a 1,400 m2 multi-storey building grows back in just under four minutes in Finland. Concrete and steel, which are used widely in construction, are not renewable. Their reuse and recycling solutions will be very important in the future. 

Kerto LVL is fast, light and green

Light, durable and fire-resistant building materials are needed for the construction of additional storeys. The weight of Kerto LVL elements is around 20% of that of concrete, and multiple-glued Kerto GLVL structures add to the natural strength of the wood material.

The elements are made in factories and transported directly to the construction sites. This speeds up the construction process and ensures that the project stays on budget. Kerto LVL elements are lightweight, which allows more elements to be transported per load. This makes it easier to optimise logistics and also reduces transport emissions. The components are light and easy to move, even on hectic construction sites in city centres. 

Kerto LVL is environmentally friendly to manufacture and use. It is manufactured in mills that use renewable energy, and raw materials are used as efficiently as possible. Any waste ends up as chips in a pulp mill or as bioenergy. Metsä Wood’s Kerto LVL mills use wood from sustainably managed northern forests.

In Finland forests grow more than they are used 

Wood products play an important role in binding carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Thus, Kerto LVL products are important carbon storages for their entire service life. Every tree used in construction industry stores carbon and makes room for new seedlings – new carbon sinks. Each felled tree is replaced with four seedlings. In Finland forests grow more than they are used and the amount of wood in forests increases every year through good forest management, we can affect how forests grow and how much carbon they can sequester. This year, forest owners purchased more than 35 million seedlings through us in Finland. 

Towards a more sustainable future with Kerto LVL 

Carbon dioxide emissions during both construction and operation must be minimised in construction in the future. It is therefore very important to use materials that enable a sustainable future. Using Kerto LVL is one way to carry out extensions in cities and store carbon in buildings over their service lives.  

Director, Business Development, Construction, Metsä Wood

Jussi Björman, Master of Science (Technology), graduated from the Aalto University School of Engineering in 2010. After graduating, he worked as a structural engineer in renovation and export projects. Björman joined Metsä Wood in 2011. 

He is currently the development director responsible for global business development in the construction industry and for technical customer service. He specialises in project management and Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) products.

More articles