Oscar Chan / Staff reporter
Port Moody is imposing a possible concrete ban and switching to timber because timber is more environmentally friendly. Concrete cannot be dismantled or reused. instead, concrete gets put into landfills. One of the biggest benefit of timber is that it is quicker to make high-rises with timber with less disruption to nearby people. Since timber is a natural material, it improves physical and mental well-being. Timber is also a great insulator, so heating and cooling costs will be reduced. The change in building material can give forestry workers a boost in business.
Concrete manufacturer are working to reduce their carbon footprint being required to be less than 60km away from plant to worksite. According to Michael McSweeney president and CEO of Ottawa-based Cement Association of Canada, the development of concrete grinds a portion of its limestone instead of superheating it which increases greenhouse gas savings by 10%.
Steve Milani, part of the Port Moody council, wants all future high-rises that are more than six storeys high to be built on mass timber. Diana Dilworth who is also part of Port Moody council pointed out that mass timber construction still requires concrete as the foundation and for other parts of the construction as well. But Milani argued “engineered wood carries less of an environmental footprint than concrete.”
Zoë Royer who is against this idea mentioned that discouraging concrete construction could increase greenhouse gases because it encourages urban sprawl away from Port Moody’s rapid transit station that reduce the need for vehicle use. Another point Royer had was that mass timber’s viability has not been proven yet on a grand scale. McSweeney believes any decisions that has to do with building materials should be based on science.
Though timber is currently in its research and planning phase, this could be a very possible construction plan that could reduce the amount of pollution and waste put out with concrete construction. Milani who is leading this idea indicated that banning the construction of concrete high-rises would be directly in line with Port Moody’s climate action plan that has a provision to cut the carbon content of construction projects by 40% hopefully by 2030.