22 Jun 2023, 13:58
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany bets on timber to advance decarbonisation of construction sector

Clean Energy Wire

Timber is set to displace other emission-intensive building materials like cement and steel as Germany looks to decarbonise its construction sector, according to a government strategy. “With the timber construction initiative, we show the great diversity of this raw material and want to strengthen the sustainable use of wood in our country,” buildings minister Klara Geywitz said. The strategy by the agriculture and building ministries, which was approved by the cabinet this week, is set to improve conditions for the use of wood and ensure the quota of timber in construction increases by 2030, according to a joint press release. Timber is considered a particularly sustainable construction material as it sequesters CO2 throughout its lifetime. “Every new wooden building is a CO2 reservoir and, compared to other construction methods, up to over 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions can be saved – in other words, a real win-win situation for the climate and our forests,” agriculture minister Cem Özdemir said.

The draft strategy proposes that:

  • The government will act as a role model and pioneer in climate and resource efficient construction in its own buildings
  • Research and innovation will be strengthened
  • Skilled workers are to be secured and knowledge transfer and education expanded
  • Implementation of financial incentives for construction with wood (and other renewable raw materials), and sustainable building methods are to be developed
  • Circular and resource-efficient construction is to be supported
  • Sustainable raw material supply and value chains is to be secured
  • Regulations with regard to climate-impact to be developed
  • The monitoring of climate-relevant effects in construction and housing

Around seven percent of Germany’s annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from the construction sector. The buildings ministry is looking into ways to reduce these emission, through efficiency gains and sustainable use of raw materials, and circular construction being main issues. There is untapped potential for construction with timber in Germany, the ministries write, as single and two-family houses are built using 26 percent of timber in their construction materials, while the quota for multi-story residential construction is only five percent.

All texts created by the Clean Energy Wire are available under a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0)” . They can be copied, shared and made publicly accessible by users so long as they give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.
« previous news next news »


Researching a story? Drop CLEW a line or give us a call for background material and contacts.

+49 30 62858 497

Journalism for the energy transition

Get our Newsletter
Join our Network
Find an interviewee