Responsibly and Sustainably Sourced Timber is Key to Our Net Zero Future
Wood is a precious, carbon negative material which can contribute to sustainable building solutions of the future, essential to meeting the 2050 zero emissions targets across the UK and Europe. But for the true potential of wood panels to deliver zero carbon buildings at scale, they must be sustainably, as well as responsibly sourced, and used appropriately.
The use of engineered wood panels is crucial to creating a low-impact built environment. As a naturally-grown resource, it typically has more low-embodied carbon than synthetically-produced materials. This refers to ‘upfront’ emissions associated with a material’s procurement, whether through mining, harvesting or the impacts involved in transforming it into a construction product. A material’s embodied carbon outcome also relates to emissions released in its transportation, installation, maintenance and its end-of-life disposal.
Due to the sustainably responsible way they are sourced and manufactured, MEDITE SMARTPLY products are carbon negative when they leave our sites. We have pioneered the sustainable timber industry in Europe, with each of our specialised timber panels produced essentially as by-products of the responsibly-managed forests owned by Coillte. Post-manufacture, our panels’ sustainable performance is as impressive as their responsible procurement. Timber products have the lowest embodied carbon of any mainstream building material. However, rather than being gradually released into the atmosphere, CO2 stays locked in with MEDITE SMARTPLY panels – from the point of seeds being planted in our sustainably managed forests, through to the manufacture of the panel and throughout their lifespan.
Buildings are responsible for 40% of global CO2 emissions, 28% and 11% of which are caused by operational and embodied carbon impacts respectively. As an example of how engineered wood panels can dramatically reduce embodied carbon outcomes, ‘live’ assessments were carried out using SMARTPLY PROPASSIV – our integrated structural OSB panel. The panels’ airtight performance was found to reduce heat loss by up to 90% in a typical building and up to 60% in a property constructed to current building standards.
COP 26, the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, provided a higher profile example of MEDITE SMARTPLY panels’ sustainable capabilities. They played a crucial role in the construction of the COP26 House, a zero carbon, timber frame building built by Beyond Zero Homes to showcase low carbon, circular solutions ‘in building and living’.
Furthermore, at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, MEDITE SMARTPLY partnered with the world-renowned show’s most decorated designer, Sarah Eberle, to promote the sustainable and versatile properties of our engineered wood panels. This was achieved with the creation of a garden where the centrepiece engineered wood exhibit was a feature inspired by natural vertical rock strata. It was formed from MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME (MTX), a lightweight panel guaranteed for up to 50 years above ground and 25 years in the ground.
Versatile and ideal for creating airtight, thermal bridge-free properties, as well as for building just about anything you care to turn your mind to, timber is a much valued and beloved natural resource. It’s our route to reducing operational carbon emissions of our existing building stock, and the embodied CO2 emissions of the buildings we’ve yet to construct. It’s the material we need to make good our netzero future in all sorts of practical and imaginative ways.