This is not our last wood-construction


Renewable wood for load-bearing elements can replace traditional materials with higher greenhouse gas emissions.

The development of sustainable buildings is about taking many conscious choices at an early stage and thorough the design process. That became clear during the event «Building with wood as a climate measure» at the Inspiria Science Center in Sarpsborg on May 8th.

Nearly 50 participants, both from municipalities and private industry, received an introduction to the factors that influence greenhouse gas emissions in a construction project, including a comparison of various building materials, by architect Bård Sverre Solem from Eggen Arkitekter. Experiences from Østfold municipalities that have or are in the process of building projects in wood was also presented. The event was opened by county politician in Østfold, Elin Tvete.

There are several solutions that take us towards the low-emission society and choosing wood as a building material is one of them. It also has other positive properties beyond low carbon footprint. Imagine a tree in the woods. It is cut, machined into planks and then into a wood building element. It takes place in a building, and stays there for 50-100 years while it holds the carbon. When the building is demolished, the element can be reused for new purposes, since it has been protected by the roof and walls of the building. In the forest, a new tree has grown up and captured new carbon.

Utilizing wood for load-bearing structures in buildings can yield large climate gains, and also create a market for increased regional production of building elements in wood. Therefore, in the future, goals and requirements will be set for increased construction with climate-friendly materials.

Halden, Hobøl and Rakkestad municipality are some of several municipalities in Østfold that have built a building in solid wood lately, or who are on their way to putting the shovel in the ground. In 2016, Climate Østfold, Hobøl municipality, Halden municipality and Rakkestad municipality applied for support for «Additional costs for the design of cross laminatedtimber buildings» which is also the title of the cooperation project.

Halden municipality has come the furthest, with the construction of Kongeveien school and Bergheim Activity Center. As of May 2019, we know that 4 or 5 out of 7 buildings in the project will be built in wood. At the seminar, the municipalities and a contractor shared the experiences of the construction process.

We already have a couple of buildings on the way that we intend to build in wood. What we have learned is which building types work well with the use of wood and which do not work as well. When you bring the experiences you have gained and plan new projects, we see that this is not the last project we will choose to build in wood, says Bjørn Marius Sørensen, project manager of construction in Halden municipality.

Facts about wood as a building material:

  • The cross laminated timber building system is wooden planks that are assembled into large elements.
  • The planks are normally placed 90 degrees apart in three to nine layers and pressed together under high pressure.
  • The building system is almost like lego blocks. It has good insulation capability, and one does not have to use plastic at the bottom as solid wood meets the density requirements.
  • The environmental benefits are great as the production emissions are low compared to other materials, and furthermore, wood saves carbon dioxide during the life of the building

You can find pictures and video/presentations here:


Bjørn Marius Sørensen and Arne Ekre from Halden municipality.

Bergheim Bo- og aktivitetssenter from the air