Free online course on edX
starts 15 November 2023
“The way and manner we build and materialize has to change. One of the most promising solutions is building with wood and other biobased materials from sustainably managed sources.”Arjan van Timmeren, professor of Environmental Technology & Design at TU Delft
Registration for the free online course ‘Sustainable Building with Timber’ on edX, the online learning platform created by Harvard and MIT is now possible. This course was developed by Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in cooperation with FSC® Netherlands and other parties. Thanks to this course, all stakeholders in the built environment – architects, developers, engineers, consultants and policy makers, as well as students – can gain knowledge and skills needed to exploit the enormous potential of timber construction. The first edition of this seven-week course starts on October 18.
The way we build our buildings must change
More than 35% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the built environment, a third of which are specifically related to the production of building materials such as concrete, metal and plastics. In addition to climate change, there are other challenges facing the construction industry, such as resource scarcity, health issues and the need to build enough housing. “The way and manner we build and materialize has to change. One of the most promising solutions is building with wood and other biobased materials from sustainably managed sources. Thanks to various developments in construction methods and solid wood and/or composite wood and biobased material composites, large-scale application of wood in the built environment is possible, even for high-rise buildings. The high-quality applications with wood will contribute significantly to the necessary transition to a less impactful construction (industry).” said Arjan van Timmeren, professor of Environmental Technology & Design at TU Delft.
Holistic understanding of sustainable timber construction
The Sustainable Building with Timber course offers a carefully crafted curriculum designed to give participants a holistic understanding of sustainable timber construction. Among other things, participants learn that sustainable forest management is an essential prerequisite for the use of timber in construction. Sustainable forest management allows us to use wood while preserving forests without harming their ecological, social and economic functions. Sustainably produced wood contributes to carbon sequestration, both in forests and in buildings.
Wood is also ideal for prefabrication, allowing most of the construction labor to take place in production halls and making the construction process itself cleaner, faster and of higher quality, with less inconvenience on site also to the environment. Circular construction practices allow wood structures to be reused on an individual building and regional level. This, compared to traditional constructions, will result in healthier buildings that store carbon instead of emitting it, while the raw material grows back in sustainably managed forests.
HOME for the future
The course was developed as part of the HOME for the future project. This ambitious project, initiated by FSC® Netherlands and FSC® Denmark, aims to increase the amount of wood from sustainably managed forests used in social housing construction. The project includes several activities: improving the position of wood as a building material in legislation, increasing knowledge about building with wood in the construction industry and producing life cycle analyses (LCAs) and product maps (EPDs) to be added to the National Environmental Database. Furthermore, tools are being developed to better identify the cost and climate benefits of building with wood. HOME for the future is part of the EU LIFE program.