According to Metsä Wood, construction creates an estimated 30% of all CO2 emissions and uses up to 50% of the world’s resources. The standard use of concrete is cost-effective, but it produces a high amount of carbon dioxide. Wood is the best environmental choice because of its capacity to capture carbon. However, innovations haven’t yet found a way to make wood work for every application. So, a Finnish company created a hybrid sandwich wall element that replaces half the required concrete for more sustainable construction practices. 

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A person in a construction uniform working on a wood wall.

“Around 1 million square metres of concrete wall elements are produced annually in Finland. Their load-bearing core creates 45,000 tons of CO2 emissions. If all concrete walls were replaced with hybrid sandwich wall elements, CO2 emissions would decrease by 30,000 tons a year and 95,000 tons of carbon would be stored,” Jussi Björman, Director of Business Construction at Metsä Wood, explained.

Related: Minimalist, low-carbon home features local wood and recycled concrete

A wood wall with window holes being constructed.

Metsä Wood partnered with Finnish design companies to develop and manufacture the product, which can be used in residential, office or industrial multi-story buildings. 

A wood wall being constructed.

“The hybrid sandwich wall element helps to increase the share of wood to build more sustainable buildings efficiently. This joint development is our effort to support the construction industry,” said Björman.

A wood wall being constructed, with a person passing from right to left.

The innovation combines concrete with Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber), and the material is lighter than concrete for easy installation. The Hybrid Sandwich Wall also offers a higher insulation value for improved energy efficiency in the building. 

A rendering of the three layers of the hybrid sandwich wall.

“As Kerto LVL is a light material, the hybrid sandwich wall elements will be faster to produce at the factory and transport to the site, and even the transport emissions will decrease due to the light load. The light elements are also easier to lift,” said Björman.

A rendering of the hybrid sandwich wall.

Kerto® LVL can be used in joists, beams, trusses, frames, scaffolding, floors, ceilings, forms for concrete work and industrial applications. Metsä Fibre’s new Rauma sawmill is the first construction project where the hybrid sandwich wall elements will be used. Skanska is the main constructor of the mill project. The elements will be produced at Lipa-Betoni’s factory in Pieksämäki, Finland and installed in June.

+ Metsä Wood

Images via Metsä Wood