The Finnish furniture industry, which has established a global reputation through its design products, is in the grip of structural change. Last year, the value of furniture imports was almost four times greater than that of exports. With mass production being transferred to countries with lower production costs, the companies that are surviving in the furniture industry are those that specialise.
The new UN Climate Report warns of wide-ranging and irrevocable consequences if carbon emissions are not taken under control. Because the volume of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere is now at a record high, mitigating such emissions requires fast and concrete decisions. According to the report, the world has only a little time to keep global warming in check at reasonable costs. The aim is to reduce emissions by 40-70% between 2010 and 2050, and to end the consumption of fossil fuels completely by 2100.
The timber extension of the Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation’s Gösta Museum in Mänttä, which covers an area of almost 6,000 m², has been completed and is open to the public. The structures of the 135 metre-long pavilion that has been erected next to the old museum are made of glued laminated timber (glulam) and the outer cladding of surface treated vertical shuttering.
Norway has set a strong policy objective of significantly increasing the share of timber bridges in bridge construction. The share of timber bridges in Norway is currently about 10%, whilst in Finland it is estimated to be around 4%. Supporting the use of wood in bridge construction is part of the Norwegian government’s wood construction promotion programme.
Forest and wood have given the Helsinki Music Centre not only its exterior look, but also character and atmosphere. The pail-like main hall has been dubbed “smoke sauna”, owing to the tone of its warm, dark birch panels, while the seats in the vineyard-like audience have been described as a “logjam”, the wooden stairs are like creeks, and the ceiling of the main hall that regulates the sounds was named “Sound Canopy” (Finnish: Sointilatvus) following a public competition arranged to come up with a name for it.
The long-awaited production of domestic CLT (cross-laminated timber) massive wood elements is being launched in Kuhmo. According to Crosslam Oy's founder, Managing Director Juha Virta, European experiences of CLT production and its use in construction encouraged the decision to start production.
- I believe that demand for a domestic alternative exists on the market because, in Finland too, CLT construction is beginning to be well-known in apartment building construction. The aim is to carry out construction element and product component trade, in which elements are sold to construction projects for anything from houses to apartment buildings and public construction, says Virta.
Short construction time, competitiveness and an ecological image have increased the competitiveness and popularity of wood construction in Austria. The use of prefabricated CLT (cross-laminated timber) boards in particular is on the increase in the construction of apartment blocks, daycare centres, care homes and shopping centres. In the centre of the city of Graz, a 12-storey apartment block containing 143 apartments is being completed. - In the beginning, the buildings were designed for concrete construction but, as an investor, we wanted a new alternative and image. In order to achieve this, we started using wood, says Martin Partoll, Managing Director of the Aktiv Klimahaus company.
Aalto University researcher, Matti Kuittinen, considers climate change to be the greatest challenge facing mankind and the whole ecosystem. Within two centuries, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen from 300 to 400 parts per million as a result of the use of fossil fuels, among other things. In order to avoid a fatal environmental catastrophe, the upper limit for global warming has been internationally agreed a 2 °C. If we want to remain within that, then we can belch out no more than a trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That amount currently stands at 0.6 trillion tonnes, but emissions are increasing at a fast pace. If we carry on with business as usual, the one trillion tonne mark will be reached in 27 years.
New wood composite products enable the creation of light and easily formable construction components and systems. Jyrki Vuorinen, Professor of Materials Science at the Tampere University of Technology, is evaluating ongoing materials development work leading to the significant modernisation of construction.
Finland’s Minister for International Development, Pekka Haavisto, is encouraging companies in the wood product sector to enter the growing international market for humanitarian aid in disaster areas, in which there is demand for wooden homes for distressed families.