90% of Irish adults who took part in a recent poll don’t know the Irish forest industry produces enough wood to build over 44,000 homes per annum, according to Coillte.
This was one of the findings from a RED C poll commissioned by the forestry semi-state.
Commenting, Coillte Forest manaiging director Mark Carlin said: “We think the 44,000 homes is a conservative estimate but is well in excess of the 33,000 annual homes the government’s ‘Housing for All Plan‘ says is required each year from 2021 to 2030 to keep up with demand.”
Carlin noted that Ireland is self-sufficient in providing a wide range of construction timber unlike the UK, which imports most of its wood and has done for many decades, adding:
“Ireland is one of the best places in the world to grow trees due to its temperate climate and fertile soils.
“Softwoods or conifers typically grow twice as fast here as in Europe,” he said.
Describing wood as a “renewable and environmentally friendly construction product”, Coillte claimed that, in its forests, for every tree harvested, three new trees are planted in its place.
Highlighting that 80% of global wood demand for construction timber is for softwood produced from coniferous trees, the semi-state firm pointed to another notable finding.
Based on the poll results, 67% of Irish people don’t know the majority of global construction wood demand is for softwood produced from conifer trees such as spruce, fir, pine – not hardwoods like oak, maple mahogany, teak.
“Many people probably think of oak floors, teak doors or mahogany furniture when they think of wood being used in their homes,” said Carlin.
“What they probably don’t realise is Irish conifer trees like pine, spruce and fir trees are the most commonly used wood for roofs, rafters and joists in the walls and floors,” he said.
In terms of other notable findings, Coillte said the poll found that 38% of Irish adults don’t realise that wood has a lower carbon footprint than concrete or steel.
“People probably don’t realise Irish wood used in people’s homes, gardens, fences, decking etc. is also a great way of storing carbon and not releasing it into the atmosphere,” said Carlin.
Other research highlights include:
- 58% of adults believe we should build more timber frame houses in Ireland rather than concrete or steel;
- 77% of the adults who believe timber framed houses should be built in Ireland said the wood should be sourced domestically from local producers.
- Only 17% of people know less than 25% of new homes in Ireland are built with timber frames compared with just over 80% of new homes being built with timber frames in Scotland.
Coillte is the largest forest owner in Ireland on behalf of the nation with over 440,000ha or over one million acres of forests and lands.