It is apparent that trees in many ways provide the most important solutions to our environmental challenges. Their preservation in dense urban environments and the use of natural wood in the construction of buildings are both important activities, which when done in a planned manner can provide sustained positive impact on the environment for generations.
According to recent estimates, the construction industry in the United States alone contributes between 35-41% of the total CO2 emissions in the environment. Other countries have reported similar numbers, thus making the construction industry the single largest emitter of CO2 gases in the world. It has become imperative in our times to conceive of a new development model with new methods of construction that are far less detrimental to our physical environment. The future of construction will have to be based on building methods and construction materials that will contribute towards long-term ecological sustainability rather than short-term economical gains alone.
Apart from some distinct advantages of using steel and concrete as a response to the current construction cycles, the excessive use of these non-renewable materials has had a huge impact on the environment. For example, most primary construction materials require tremendous amounts of energy during their formation. The diagram below gives a comparison of this.