Finnish timber housing has excellent market potential

Timber apartment blocks could have a 10% market share by 2020 and also have good export potential, according to Mika Airaksela, managing director Rakennusliike Reponen Oy.

Finland is known for its vast forests, timber and paper production and has long had world class expertise in the construction of low energy and zero energy housing. However, the construction of timber apartment blocks is only now beginning to take off, presenting new business opportunities for construction companies.

More than 40% of Finland’s energy consumption takes place in buildings, so there is a clear market for low-energy construction solutions where timber can play a major role. By the year 2020 all new public buildings in Finland must be zero energy buildings; they have to produce as much energy as they consume. The utilisation of renewable energy sources is also set to increase in the construction sector in the future.

In Finland a major challenge for constructing large scale timber housing in Finland has been the changing weather conditions during construction, according to Mika Airaksela, managing director of Rakennusliike Reponen Oy. Now timber house elements can be built indoors, multi-storey timber apartment blocks are as good as concrete houses and are cheaper to build.

“The costs are reduced, construction becomes more economically viable and people get more pleasant and ecological homes to live in,” says Airaksela. He believes that the construction of timber apartment blocks is now developing into a significant business opportunity in Finland. By 2020, the market share of timber buildings from new apartment block projects could already be about 10% or 30-40 projects annually.

According to Airaksela, timber housing can withstand vibration much better than concrete houses and wooden apartment blocks would therefore also have good export potential to areas prone to earthquakes.

23 August, 2011

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