Timber frame construction and exterior wood cladding are seeing a resurgence in demand. What is fuelling this interest in wood for modern building projects?

Is Charred Timber Cladding Sustainable?

A question we are often asked by architects and building developers is whether our charred timber cladding is sustainably sourced. With our timber merchants supplying Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC®) wood, we can confirm that it is. This understanding of sustainability through the supply chain has become a priority in all new builds.

Timber Construction to Achieve Net Zero

Scientific research shows the potentially catastrophic effect of increases in global temperatures. In response, attempts are being made to rapidly reduce carbon emissions. Across the globe, Governments are incentivising schemes that promote carbon capture, energy efficiency and renewables.

The UK Government has committed to our country becoming net-zero – that is balancing carbon emissions with carbon capture – by 2050. To achieve this, there need to be significant changes to processes and behaviours in all industries and construction is no exception.

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) drive the move towards building materials and practices which mitigate the rising global temperatures. From an environmental perspective, timber buildings are beneficial due to several factors:

  • Timber is a renewable building material that can be sourced from responsibly managed forests
  • Trees have natural carbon capture and storage qualities
  • Wood is a thermal insulator
  • Timber construction and exterior cladding can optimise additional insulation within a relatively narrow profile.

The use of timber as a primary building material is seen as key to reducing construction-related carbon emissions, as it is a greener alternative to brick and mortar, concrete or steel.

Oak Hill house finished with grey cladding made from Kebony

Timber Building to Lower Carbon Emissions

This shift towards timber as a building material is being echoed in other parts of the globe. The Australian Government has launched the Timber Building Programme, to increase the use of sustainably sourced and accredited wood in construction.

They are providing finance for mass timber construction, specifically commercial offices, healthcare, education, care and student accommodation buildings. It is reported that this has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by 75% in comparison to steel and concrete builds.

In Sweden, the demand for prefabricated wood construction has increased. Companies like Skanska are seeing this as a step towards becoming carbon neutral by 2045. Prefabrication brings many advantages, including quick construction and less disruption on-site. The precision needed for building off-site also enables waste to be minimised.

Timber Construction for Thermal Efficiency

In the UK, the construction industry is moving towards a ‘fabric-first’ approach. This means embedding thermal efficiency and airtightness in the design and build of homes, offices and public buildings. Such an approach keeps buildings at ambient temperatures without the need for excessive heating or cooling and is favoured over renewable technology add-ons, such as solar panels.

The framework of timber construction enables insulation to be packed in between the structural studs or panels without the walls becoming excessively thick. This optimises internal space, as well as heat retention. When finished with external cladding, an additional layer of insulation and weatherproofing keeps the building warm and protected from the elements.

High thermal efficiency brings environmental and social benefits. Less energy is needed heat interiors, so less carbon is emitted and the cost of utility bills is cut.

If you are a self-builder considering timber frame, there is an informative guide on the Homebuilding website. Many of the examples shown are finished with burnt timber cladding. This delivers a highly desirable aesthetic, as well as assisting thermal efficiency.

Charred Timber Cladding Suppliers

As charred timber cladding suppliers, Exterior Solutions Ltd work with architects, building developers and self-builders to provide quality exterior finishes. In addition to the traditional black burnt timber cladding, our Shou Sugi Ban® range includes light and mid-tones, as well as coloured timber cladding. Download our brochure from the Charred Timber Cladding page on our website.

We are happy to advise on options to match your vision and budget from our range of wood and finishes. Samples and quotes can be sent to help you and your clients make an informed decision.