Energy-Efficient Building with Wood

Wood buildings are more energy-efficient

Wood construction consumes minimal energy. Wood is light and easy to put together on site. Foundations are minimized. Transport requires less energy. And wood construction is quick, requiring little or no use of heavy-duty equipment. Wood is a good thermal insulator. It is 400 times better at resisting thermal conductivity than steel, and 10 times better than concrete or bricks. This means extra insulation or thicker walls are required for steel, concrete, or masonry structures to achieve the same level of thermal resistance.

Wood frame buildings are easy to insulate thermally

Unlike solid concrete or masonry structures, wood frame walls, floor joists, and roof joists inherently provide space for fibrous insulation, the most economical way to achieve better insulation. Application of mineral insulation is a standard element of any wood construction project. It is conducted with minimal additional labour or material expense and provides significant returns. Wood’s low thermal conductivity means 90 per cent of the insulation value can be realized, with only 10 per cent lost to thermal bridging. Wood structures can also be readily insulated on the exterior or interior if additional energy savings are desired.

Light steel frame walls also have cavities for insulation. But the high thermal conductivity of steel means only 50 per cent of the insulation value can be achieved. Extra measures are always required to reduce local energy loss and vapour condensation as a result of steel thermal bridging. It can also lead to ‘ghost marks’; dark vertical marks that appear over the framing on the interior surfaces of exterior walls, as a result of faster dust accumulation on cool surfaces.

Energy-efficient wood frame ski lodges, Xiliang mountain, Sichuan
Insulation is simple to fit in wood buildings