Module: Environmental aspects of wood Unit: Low carbon and timber buildings

Date Published

16 August 2022

Document Type



There is considerable scope for buildings and the use of buildings to make a large contribution to reducing UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Government’s Innovation and Growth Team refers to a common belief that buildings are responsible for about half of the country’s CO2 emissions through their operational energy, that is lighting, heating, cooling and electricity for power.

Key Information

The construction industry has a large role to play in reducing GHG emissions.

Timber has one of the lowest thermal conductivity values of all construction materials, making it thermally efficient.

Life-cycle assessments investigate the environmental impacts at each stage of production.

Carbon sequestration in timber could be used as a tool to mitigate the consequences of CO2 emissions.

Case studies

The Believe in Better Building, a new building for Sky on its Osterley campus, lives up to its name. It is the tallest commercial timber building in the UK and one of very few multi-storey timber offices in the world.

The Enterprise Centre, a new building on the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus is an outstanding example of sustainability and low-embodied carbon construction.