The AFP (Agence France-Presse), an international news agency established in France, mentioned that the regulation codes will be applied for all buildings funded by the French government and will enter into force in 2022.
The initiative was motivated by a recent agreement for the Summer Olympics in Paris, 2024. According to this compact, all structures with 8 stories or more that will be built in Paris will consist of timber.
The Olympic Village will be established in an area close to the Seine, the river that flows through Paris. It will consist of around 2,400 facilities utilized for various purposes (e.g. residences, restaurants, sports centers, offices).
An alternative solution to replace wood material is the usage of bio-based substances such as straw. These materials have a low environmental footprint as they cause far fewer carbon emissions than concrete or steel. Currently, cement's production accounts for 8% of the total carbon emission worldwide. “If it is possible for the Olympics, it should be possible for ordinary buildings. I am imposed on all the public entities that depend on me and which manage development to construct buildings with material that is at least 50 percent wood or from bio-sourced material,” Julien Denormandie, the Minister for Urban Affairs and Housing, stated.
The plan aligns with the greater endeavor of France to become carbon neutral by 2050.
There is much potential to build high and efficient buildings out of timber. Today, Mjösa Tower, the tallest wood building in the world, stands at 85,4 meters and consists of 18 stories. However, according to Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation firm, a timber structure can reach as high as 35 stories. The company created a digital model showing that such a structure would be feasible.
The French government is also willing to dedicate $21,7 million to raise 100 urban farms in the suburbs of Paris. The facilities will be established in strategic locations to improve the conditions in certain neighborhoods in the city. "As a father, I prefer that what is on my children's plates come from the local area, rather than being imported on a plane," Denormandie, stated.
Another green endeavor is currently underway in the city of Bordeaux where France's first residential wood tower is being constructed. The 57-meter facility will consist of timber floors built around a concrete core.