French bid to boost wood use in buildings

Voluntary charter targets 25% increase in consumption by 2010 with aim of cutting climate emissions

Three French ministries plus a range of industry associations yesterday signed a voluntary charter pledging a big increase in the amount of wood used in new buildings. Signatories are to aim for a 25% increase in wood consumption in construction by 2010. The principle objective of the deal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with construction by reducing the use of brick, stone and metals whose production involves higher emissions.

Referring to wood as an "under exploited" building material with considerable environmental benefits, the environment ministry hailed the charter as a first step towards promoting its use. A ministry official told ENDS Daily that it will be backed up by a forthcoming air quality law, which will require "labelling" of new buildings' according to their timber content. The ministry hopes this will "increase the value" of wood in the eyes of consumers and contribute to meeting the 25% target.

Signatories of the charter comprise France's environment, forestry and housing ministries and several industry associations. In addition to the timber trade, these include all major organisations representing the housing development and construction sectors. Commitment from these actors will greatly increase the charter's value, the ministry official said.

Follow Up:
French environment ministry, tel: +33 1 42 19 20 21, press release.

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