Using Wood in Construction
Arto Appelgren, forest owner, President, Kuhmo Forest Management Association
Forest owner is the best environmentalist
I have a long history with wood as a woodcutter, timber supplier, forest owner, and steward of the wood sector. It is great to see how wood has increased its profile in the public discussion and dominance as construction material in the past few years.
In the debate about the use of wood, it is not always clear that every time we take a tree out of the forest, it is so old it needs to be cut, and we always replace it by planting new trees. Forest owner is the best environmentalist by taking care of their trees. The increasing use of wood in construction is a motivator for better forest management - we want to provide high-quality timber.
Forest is a bank
Diversity in forest management is crucial - you must know where certain types of trees will flourish and ensure that you have trees in different stages of circulation at all times. You want to have trees that are growing in addition to trees that are mature enough to be cut down. Forest is a bank in a way: it gives you extra when you need it as long as you respect and take care of it.
Tuupala School is the tour de force and a trailblazer of wood construction. We as a town are proud of it, and it has encouraged us to use more wood in construction. I can only hope other towns will follow our example.
Tommi Ruha, Kuhmo Oy, founded in 1955
Wood stores carbon throughout its lifetime
The school is built mostly with local timber and it stores carbon throughout its lifetime far into the future. Building the school was an action for the environment and that has not been acknowledged enough. Environmentally, wood is undoubtedly the best material and we need more critical discussion of building materials. The Ministry of Environment must encourage this public discussion.
The school is a meaningful showcase for the local wood industry and it opens our opportunities in the national and international competition. It is a project that can be introduced as a successful example of a public wooden building. This project taught us that you have to face wooden construction with an open mind. Wood is the future.
Juha Virta, Chief Executive Officer, Crosslam Oy
Solid wood binds carbon through its life
CLT as a solid wood structure reacts to fire in a better and safer way than a substructure building. Solid wood panels are versatile in use and the installation is fast when the measurements, electrification, and ventilation are done at the factory.
Dry chain prevents moisture and mildew problems
Building with wood happens in dry conditions from beginning to end. The timber is delivered to us dry, and the processing and gluing of the panels are done in the dry and covered construction site. The panels are sanded at the factory so we only have to wax or prime them at the site. It is extremely important to maintain the dry chain and through that, prevent any possible moisture and mildew issues in the future.
Solid wood panels bind carbon in significant amounts throughout their lifecycle. The carbon stored in the tree stays in the building. Wood replaces materials in which we have to manufacture using fossil fuels, which makes wood an environmentally friendly material.
Kari Kähkönen, Fire Chief
Wood is a secure option in terms of fire safety
As we talked through the building process with our organization’s risk management team, I became convinced that using wood as the primary material was a completely secure option in terms of fire safety.
The construction team used a lot of wooden surfaces and wanted to highlight the local wood. Fire authorities have always perceived wood as challenging, even impossible construction material in large-scale projects such as Tuupala school. However, they installed an extinguishing system, fire alarms, an automatic locking system that unlock in case of an emergency exit situation, as well as everything that has to do with the threat of a fire in a school building.
Compared to a steel structure or wool insulation panels
Solid wood is much safer in a fire
Advanced technology opens so many opportunities so this certainly is a very safe space. From a fire fighter’s perspective, solid wood is much safer in a fire situation than a steel structure or wool insulation panels. Wood can manage fire for a significant amount of time.
As a fire professional, I strongly trust that a possible fire situation would not go unnoticed and it would be contained with first extinguishing. If for some reason that would not happen, the sprinkler system would take care of it. This is without a doubt one of the best buildings in terms of fire safety.