Since 70% of Sweden’s territory is covered with forests, it is only natural that the Scandinavian country opts for a material such as timber to resolve its housing shortage problem sustainably.
“This is tech that we already have that can be used today, and it is a fast track to lowered emissions,” says Mathias Fridholm, director of Svenskt Tra (“Swedish Wood”), an industry organization that promotes timber and wooden products. When changing the structure of a building from concrete to wood, there is an immediate 50% reduction in emissions. And a city made out of wood serves also as an urban carbon storage facility.
There are development projects around Stockholm, like Folkhem’s Cederhusen – or Cedar House – in Hagastaden where the construction of one of the world’s largest apartment complexes built from timber is currently underway. A collection of housing, offices, institutions, and public spaces are being built using cross-laminated timber which is strong, light, and breathable – meaning that it holds heat but contrary to concrete, it doesn’t require plastic layers to manage moisture. Folkhem’s project will reach 13 stories, close to the current record holder for tallest timber construction, the 18-story wooden building in Brumunddal, Norway.