OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Is It Time For Tall Wood?

At the 2013 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, a trippy entry called Big Wood made waves and earned an Honorable Mention. Forest scientists at Oregon State University, for example, have published numerous studies concluding that all currently known forms of commercial tree removal have worse carbon footprints than leaving the forests alone. However, those studies rest on assumptions such as an 80-year lifespan, typical of American buildings. Different assumptions—based on what can and must be done, rather than on business as usual in the profligate past century—will give very different results. Green points to Japanese pagodas 19 stories high that are still standing after 1400 years.