Affordable wooden office building halves emissions

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The Magasinet office building in Linköping, Sweden, is constructed almost entirely of wood. The result: a massive 54 per cent reduction in climate impact – but only at 2 per cent greater cost. This fascinating outcome shows that wooden construction is an effective way to reduce fossil emissions and at the same time create long-term carbon storage, says Jerry Larsson, President SCA Wood.

The six-storey Magasinet office building has recently been built in Ebbepark business park in Linköping. With the exception of the foundations and the bomb shelter in the basement, the entire building is made from wood.  

According to Åhlin & Ekeroth, the cost of constructing the building was only 2 per cent higher compared to using conventional concrete. At the same time, the building’s construction reduced emissions by 54 per cent and it was possible to build its entire wooden frame in 32 days. 

Larsson believes that the wider use of industrial wood construction offers considerable climate potential.  

“There’s clearly considerable climate benefit in avoiding using fossil-heavy materials and locking carbon into construction. The really interesting takeaway is that in terms of costs, it can be pretty comparable,” says Larsson. 

“Time is money and wood construction can be efficient with a large proportion of prefabricated parts; so, if you plan it right, there are very big upsides to wood construction,” says Larsson. 

Larsson says that historically, Sweden has primarily built single-family houses in wood, but that this is changing. Modern wood construction, highly fire-retardant and with a high degree of industrial pre-fabrication, short construction times and better construction performance, means that even larger buildings can be constructed with greater amounts of wood. 

“The climate issue is driving development in many areas of society, and this of course incorporates construction. It makes climate sense to build with more wood, and when it can also be done quickly, at attractive prices and with the right characteristics, wood becomes an excellent choice, even for larger buildings,” says Larsson.

The interior of the office building.
The interior of the office building.

Photo: Åhlin & Ekeroth