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News » International » New initiative seeks to boost construction’s use of wood » published 21 Jun 2017

New initiative seeks to boost construction’s use of wood

An initiative with €30,000 in prize money has been launched by Metsä Wood with the aim of accelerating growth in the use of timber for modular urban construction.

The Open Source Wood initiative is described as a call to action to architects, designers and engineers to join forces, share innovation and contribute knowledge about large-scale, modular wood construction. Metsä Wood’s aim is to connect the local wood construction industry with global knowledge.

Metsä Wood executive vice president Esa Kaikkonen said: “Not enough knowledge about modular wood design and building is shared, so wood construction remains niche. There is plenty of innovation but it is difficult to find, so Open Source Wood is our solution. We believe that with open collaboration the industry can achieve significant growth.”

The company is taking the first step by sharing its own intellectual property for modular Kerto LVL wood elements, making them available freely for everyone.

In addition, Metsä Wood will award innovation in modular element design by offering 30k euro in prize money during 2017 to exceptional designs, submitted as part of the initiative, using its Kerto LVL material.

Today the construction industry is dominated by two materials – steel and concrete – said Metsä Wood. Only a fraction (5-10%) of global urban construction is wood, due in part to the fact that the industry is fragmented and local. According to the company, wood is, however, an optimal material for urban construction as it enables faster building processes; its lightness leads to more affordable structures and it is the most environmentally friendly building material, battling climate change through carbon storage.

The initiative takes its inspiration from open source ideology, championed by the software industry, to drive innovation further and faster, and to increase speed to market.

Eric Karsh, an engineer at Vancouver-based Equilibrium Consulting, said: “We fundamentally need to challenge the way we build. Timber technology is now progressing so fast that knowledge transfer is often the bottleneck. Those of us who have expertise have a responsibility to share, and the fastest way is an open source approach promoting knowledge and innovation from all corners of the world. That’s why Metsä Wood is launching the initiative and makes the first step in giving away knowledge and intellectual property for prefabricated elements, allowing systematic creativity and efficiency in building.”

Open Source Wood is a continuation of Metsä Wood’s project Plan B, launched in 2015 as an ambitious blueprint to explore the possibilities of using wood in urban construction.

 

MPU

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This article was published on 21 Jun 2017 (last updated on 21 Jun 2017).

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