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Sustainable Forest Management: Best Practice Germany

Sustainable Forest Management and the use of sustainable wood products in residential buildings in the German market

This report focuses on the experiences and practical application of timber and other forest products from sustainable sources in the construction of residential buildings In Germany and specifically in the German co-operative housing market.

The principle of sustainability in our cooperative

The Bauverein Halle & Leuna eG housing-cooperative in Halle, Saale with nearly 8000 flats and more than 17,000 occupants, is focused on the principle of sustainability. We determine that a housing co-operative is sustainable if it is following its economic objectives and meets social responsibility standards.

Unfortunately, up to now we have no experience in the use of timber and other forest products from sustainable sources in construction, refurbishment or extension of residential buildings. In 2014 we discussed the interesting and new possibility of a building extension module which is made of wood from sustainable sources.

We are also looking at an application for pre-fabricated houses (slabs), to improve housing accessibility for disabled or elderly people in these buildings (TESEnergyfacade – see below).

Advantages of sustainable wood products in the housing construction market

The municipal housing company of Munich, Bavaria (GWG München) created a very impressive report on the use of timber in the housing construction and produced an impressive ecological balance sheet.

As an example, the annual German timber-harvest of 70 Million cubic metres could provide 45 Million cubic metres of wood construction for residential buildings. Just one third of this theoretical amount would be enough to erect the whole yearly German residential housing construction volume.

An additional ecological benefit is the capture of carbon dioxide in the timber. One cubic metre will capture one ton of carbon dioxide for the lifetime of its use in buildings – this means at least 80 – 100 years.

Due to the increasing prices for construction steel, copper and a lot of metals, non-renewable resources will lose their importance in the construction sector. Timber however is renewable and re-growing.

Use of sustainable wood products in the housing construction market in general in Germany

There are two impressive examples for the use of sustainable wood products in the housing construction market in Germany.

One is the project planning company named ReBuild Generalplanung GmbH, which planned the construction of a residential building extension owned by the municipal housing company in Augsburg, Bavaria. With the so called Projekt Grüntenstraße (winner of the German award for the refurbishment of residential buildings in 2013) ReBuild created a demonstration model of the European joint project smartTES and E2ReBuild. TES-EnergyFacade is an international research project, which aims at developing a method for the energy-efficient renovation of the building envelope, based on woodframed prefabricated facade elements for the improvement and modernization of facades (under the leadership of the TU München (Technical University of Munich, Bavaria, Professor Stefan Winter and Professor Hermann Kaufmann).

The other example is the municipal housing company GWG in Munich, Bavaria [pictured right], which also used the E2ReBuild incentive programme for the refurbishment and extension of an existing residential building in Munich, Badgasteiner Straße 4, 6, 6a. The extension is a building which is four storeys high and is made of wooden prefabricated façade elements.

(unfortunately only the tesenergyfacade link is available in English).

Sustainability Germany
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