A pioneering open innovation project to Metsä Wood has launched Open Source Wood initiative in order to accelerate growth in large scale wood construction. By creating this platform around modular wood construction, Metsä Wood’s aim is to connect the local wood construction industry with global knowledge to facilitate collaboration and growth.
Today the construction industry is dominated by two materials – steel and concrete. Only a fraction (5-10%) of global urban construction is wood, due in part to the fact that the industry is fragmented and local. Wood, however, is an optimal material for urban construction as it enables faster building processes; its lightness leads to more affordable structures and it is the most environmentally friendly building material, battling climate change through carbon storage.
Metsä Wood’s Executive Vice President, Esa Kaikkonen, explains: “Not enough knowledge about modular wood design and building is shared, so wood construction remains niche. There is plenty of innovation but it is difficult to find, so Open Source Wood is our solution. We believe that with open collaboration the industry can achieve significant growth.”
The initiative takes its inspiration from open source ideology, championed by the software industry, to drive innovation further and faster, and to increase speed to market. Metsä Wood is taking the first step by sharing its own intellectual property for modular Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber) wood elements, making them available freely for everyone.
Additionally, Metsä Wood will award innovation in modular element design by offering 30k euro in prize money during 2017 to exceptional designs, submitted as part of the initiative, using its Kerto LVL material.
By 2050, approximately 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. This means that we need living space for billions. At the same time, cities contribute to up to 70% of the total greenhouse gas emissions and we need to fight climate change. One way to fight climate change is to make construction more sustainable and that’s possible when building with wood on a global scale.
Eric Karsh, an engineer at Vancouver-based Equilibrium Consulting, adds: “We fundamentally need to challenge the way we build. Timber technology is now progressing so fast that knowledge transfer is often the bottleneck. Those of us who have expertise have a responsibility to share, and the fastest way is an open source approach promoting knowledge and innovation from all corners of the world. That’s why Metsä Wood is launching the initiative and makes the first step in giving away knowledge and intellectual property for prefabricated elements, allowing systematic creativity and efficiency in building.”