South Africa: Could Wooden Skyscrapers Be the Answer for Sustainable Construction?


In search of sustainable methods of construction, Swedish construction company, Folkhem, is building on a vision of the future of wood in construction.

Homes and habitats made out of wood are not an entirely new concept. In South Africa, they range from "Wendy houses" used either as sheds or actual homes, to holiday cabins, to the apartheid-era prefabricated four-roomed township homes, through to clay and mud rondavels whose inner structure is made of wood. However, concrete is by far the world and South Africa's most popular building material.

In fact, according to an independent study by the non-profit organisation, Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International affairs, "Each year, more than 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced, accounting for around 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions." According to an article by the BBC, "If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world - behind China and the US. It contributes more CO2 than aviation fuel (2.5%) and is not far behind the global agriculture business (12%)."

With the reality of climate change and the urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions, some in the construction business are looking to more sustainable...

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