We may see wooden skyscrapers in the next decade, says Centre for Natural Materials Innovation at the University of Cambridge. The construction of wooden buildings can respond to a double challenge: provide habitability solutions to a growing world population that increasingly moves to the cities, and do so with constructions that do not further contribute to global warming.

concrete, the most common construction material, is responsible for 8% of CO2 emissions in the world. Research managers at the Cambridge center argue that there is currently an organic alternative to concrete and steel for erecting large buildings: cross-laminated timber. According to his calculations, Europe’s sustainable forests need 7 seconds to produce enough wood to build a three-bedroom house, and 4 hours for a 300-meter skyscraper.

Not only the construction process is decisive, but also that the building in its operation and maintenance is close to zero emissions. Diana Ürge-Vorsatz of Budapest Central European University warns of dire carbon footprint of the conventional skyscrapers covered with glass. He describes these towers as “huge greenhouses” that work against nature instead of for it, consuming large amounts of energy for air conditioning.

There are already notable wood construction projects that serve as a reference. In Barcelona it has opted for the construction of social flats in this material, including the tallest wooden buildings in the state. And among the existing towers that can be shown as an example is an 18-story student residence in Vancouver , which has given rise to a new project in wood and concrete that, with 40 floors, will become the highest zero-emission hybrid tower.