14 Oct, 2021 –
The Japanese government plans to promote the use of lumber for key structural elements such as posts in all new government buildings and related facilities in principle as part of its decarbonization efforts, according to informed sources.
The government’s current wood utilization strategy targets buildings with up to three stories, but it will expand the coverage to structures with four or more stories in response to technological innovation, the sources said. The government hopes that the change will also prompt local governments and private-sector companies to use lumber in buildings more actively, they added.
At its headquarters on lumber utilization to be launched on Oct. 1, the government will adopt a basic policy on wood use that incorporates the new strategy. The move will be in line with legislation enacted during the ordinary parliamentary session, which ended in June, aimed at expanding the use of lumber from public buildings to private-sector buildings. The recent development of wooden materials with advanced fireproof performances has led to the construction of medium- to high-rise wooden buildings, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area and Miyagi Prefecture.
The government’s new policy is expected to stipulate that all government buildings, including seminar facilities, will be wooden structures in principle, except when it is difficult to construct such buildings due to technical and cost reasons, the sources said. The new policy on promoting lumber use will not apply to prison facilities and buildings that house emergency headquarters in natural disasters.
Planted forests of trees aged over 50 years old account for some 50% of overall forest areas in Japan. The government aims to step up decarbonization efforts by boosting demand for lumber and planting younger trees, which can absorb more carbon dioxide than old trees, the sources said.