Advantages of Timber over Concrete – Literature review Example

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The paper "Advantages of Timber over Concrete" is a great example of a literature review on engineering and construction. In the history of man on earth, wood has been widely used in the building of all ages. Timber provides people with a wide range of products and construction materials. Some of the products of timber include bridges, houses and various types of tools (Mü ller and Favet, 2002, p. 33). The construction industry has however become so modernized that other materials of construction are now in use. Artificial materials that are widely used in construction are steel and concrete.

Concrete is used for construction despite its effects on the environment. Compared to concrete, timber is far much better in terms of sustainability and greenhouse emissions. Research has shown that timber is more sustainable and that its greenhouse effects, when used in construction, are lower. Concrete is more dangerous to the environment because of the greenhouse gases emitted in the process of preparing its constituent materials and the concrete itself. A study done by Amposah (2008, p. 117) assessed various types of buildings on greenhouse gas emissions for the construction materials.

The results of the study indicated that the use of timber in these buildings lowered the greenhouse emissions that are associated with the embodied energy of construction. The researchers concluded that there is a possibility of reducing greenhouse emissions from the construction of the buildings by 86 percent through the increase of the quantity of timber used on the buildings (Amposah 2008, p. 180). These reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases were achieved when timber came in to replace building materials with high carbon intensity in this case concrete and steel.

Concrete has high emission of greenhouse gases considering extraction, refining processes, processing, and the manufacture of its constituent materials. Preparing concrete also results in greenhouse emissions. On the other hand, the carbon intensity of wood is negative because during the growth of a tree there is sequestering and storage of carbon. The implication is that, instead of carbon dioxide being emitted to pollute the atmosphere in the production of wood, it is absorbed from the atmosphere. However, it is important to note that reducing emissions from timber used in construction can be realized if the timber is obtained from a source that is under sustainable management.

For timber to have the lowest amount of greenhouse emissions, it should be locally sourced (Amponsah 2008, p. 200). The advantage of timber over concrete in greenhouse emissions can be realized in three major areas: production, lifetime consumption of energy, and recycling and reuse. Production Embodied energy is the type of energy consumed during the process of extraction and production of a particular material. Gray energy is the energy used in product manufacturing.

Considering these two energy use types, wood is far much better than concrete. According to Berge (2012, p. 51) timber does not need a lot of energy during felling, milling, and transportation. This is a huge contrast to concrete which requires a lot of energy. For example, concrete beams need 5 times the energy consumed in wood. Overall, buildings made of timber release approximately 50 percent of the CO2 produced when concrete is used.

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