Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

A plea for the efficient use of wood in construction

The transition to climate-friendly cities has led to a renaissance of wood as a renewable building material. To prevent severe raw material shortages in the future, the material-first utilization of wood in long-living, resource-efficient engineered wood products and constructions will be key.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Resource demand of established engineered wood products.


  1. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. World Urbanization Prospects 2018: Highlights (United Nations, 2019).

  2. Wimmers, G. Wood: a construction material for tall buildings. Nat. Rev. Mater. 2, 17051 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Churkina, G. et al. Buildings as a global carbon sink. Nat. Sustain. 3, 269–276 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAOSTAT: Forestry, Forestry Production and Trade comparison. FAO (2020).

  5. Searchinger, T. D. et al. Europe’s renewable energy directive poised to harm global forests. Nat. Commun. 9, 3741 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Keenan, R. J. Climate change impacts and adaptation in forest management: a review. Ann. For. Sci. 72, 145–167 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hanewinkel, M., Cullmann, D. A., Schelhaas, M.-J., Nabuurs, G.-J. & Zimmermann, N. E. Climate change may cause severe loss in the economic value of European forest land. Nat. Clim. Change 3, 203–207 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Mayencourt, P. & Mueller, C. Hybrid analytical and computational optimization methodology for structural shaping: material-efficient mass timber beams. Eng. Struct. 215, 110532 (2020).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Gschwantner, T. et al. Harmonisation of stem volume estimates in European National Forest Inventories. Ann. For. Sci. 76, 24 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kromoser, B., Reichenbach, S., Hellmayr, R., Myna, R. & Wimmer, R. Circular economy in wood construction – additive manufacturing of fully recyclable walls made from renewables: proof of concept and preliminary data. Constr. Build. Mater. 344, 128219 (2022).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The results presented in this comment are part of the research project “Strong Hardwood” (FTI20-003). The financial support by Amt der Niederösterreichischen Landesregierung is gratefully acknowledged. Additionally, the results are part of the research project “UniStrand”. This project is funded by the Forest Fund, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management, and is carried out as part of the Think.Wood programme of the Austrian Wood Initiative (FFG 893351).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Maximilian Pramreiter.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pramreiter, M., Nenning, T., Malzl, L. et al. A plea for the efficient use of wood in construction. Nat Rev Mater (2023).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing