Tag Archives: Finland

Timber homes are a good investment for the future

Timber homes could do more than just save energy, and stall climate change. They could be a sound investment.

LONDON, 31 May, 2021 − Finnish engineers have an encouraging message for householders: wood is good, something worth thinking about for the future. They don’t just mean that a wooden structure preserves carbon that would otherwise become a greenhouse gas again. They mean that timber homes are a worthwhile investment.

That is because they studied real estate sales in two suburbs of Helsinki, between 1999 and 2018. They found that multi-storied timber-built homes changed hands at 8.85% more in value than apartments and houses made of bricks and mortar, or concrete and steel.

The sample is small − timber homes added up to only 2.23% of all sales − and the housing market is not simple. But the results are clear: home-buyers think wood is good.

“At first glance, multi-storey housing blocks made out of wood appear to be cheaper on average but when we look more closely at the data and control for location, we see that it’s economically advantageous to use wood,” said Seppo Junilla, of Aalto University.

“Building with wood is essentially the only way for cities to store carbon”

“The results show that wood-based housing is almost 10% more expensive per square metre than concrete-based housing in the same areas.”

He and colleagues report in the journal Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability that the global building and construction sector now accounts for almost 40% of global greenhouse emissions. Meanwhile more than half the planet now lives in cities, and governments have begun to commit to drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

A standing forest represents stored atmospheric carbon. A felled tree is potentially carbon on the way back to carbon dioxide again − unless that timber can be used and preserved.

Finland’s Ministry of Environment aims by 2025 to have 45% of new multi-storied buildings made from wood. The technology already has its fans: researchers have more than once proposed that wood would be a sound basis for high-density housing while at the same time making an active  contribution to helping to slow climate change driven by global heating fired by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement manufacture.

Eco-friendly preference

The first step is to encourage builders and purchasers to see this not just as good for the environment, but − in nations with rich forests − good business as well. It depends on location, and market. In Finland, by law, a felled tree must be replaced by a new planting, so timber construction would not reduce forest area overall.

“Our previous research shows that if you buy a flat you’re more concerned about its environmental footprint than if you rent. An owner typically invests more in ways to improve performance, like energy-saving options.

“This principle seems to hold true here: buyers are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly choice, even if they can’t afford to live in the most expensive neighbourhoods of the city,” Professor Junnila said.

“Building with wood is essentially the only way for cities to store carbon − by definition they don’t have the vast amounts of nature needed to sink carbon. The good news is that some international investment companies have already realised the potential of timber construction, and we can only expect this interest to grow.” − Climate News Network

Timber homes could do more than just save energy, and stall climate change. They could be a sound investment.

LONDON, 31 May, 2021 − Finnish engineers have an encouraging message for householders: wood is good, something worth thinking about for the future. They don’t just mean that a wooden structure preserves carbon that would otherwise become a greenhouse gas again. They mean that timber homes are a worthwhile investment.

That is because they studied real estate sales in two suburbs of Helsinki, between 1999 and 2018. They found that multi-storied timber-built homes changed hands at 8.85% more in value than apartments and houses made of bricks and mortar, or concrete and steel.

The sample is small − timber homes added up to only 2.23% of all sales − and the housing market is not simple. But the results are clear: home-buyers think wood is good.

“At first glance, multi-storey housing blocks made out of wood appear to be cheaper on average but when we look more closely at the data and control for location, we see that it’s economically advantageous to use wood,” said Seppo Junilla, of Aalto University.

“Building with wood is essentially the only way for cities to store carbon”

“The results show that wood-based housing is almost 10% more expensive per square metre than concrete-based housing in the same areas.”

He and colleagues report in the journal Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability that the global building and construction sector now accounts for almost 40% of global greenhouse emissions. Meanwhile more than half the planet now lives in cities, and governments have begun to commit to drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

A standing forest represents stored atmospheric carbon. A felled tree is potentially carbon on the way back to carbon dioxide again − unless that timber can be used and preserved.

Finland’s Ministry of Environment aims by 2025 to have 45% of new multi-storied buildings made from wood. The technology already has its fans: researchers have more than once proposed that wood would be a sound basis for high-density housing while at the same time making an active  contribution to helping to slow climate change driven by global heating fired by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement manufacture.

Eco-friendly preference

The first step is to encourage builders and purchasers to see this not just as good for the environment, but − in nations with rich forests − good business as well. It depends on location, and market. In Finland, by law, a felled tree must be replaced by a new planting, so timber construction would not reduce forest area overall.

“Our previous research shows that if you buy a flat you’re more concerned about its environmental footprint than if you rent. An owner typically invests more in ways to improve performance, like energy-saving options.

“This principle seems to hold true here: buyers are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly choice, even if they can’t afford to live in the most expensive neighbourhoods of the city,” Professor Junnila said.

“Building with wood is essentially the only way for cities to store carbon − by definition they don’t have the vast amounts of nature needed to sink carbon. The good news is that some international investment companies have already realised the potential of timber construction, and we can only expect this interest to grow.” − Climate News Network

Lapland's mystery moths puzzle science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LONDON, 22 April – Finnish and US scientists have an unsolved puzzle: good news when they expected bad news. They have invested 32 years studying the forest moths of Finnish Lapland to measure the effect of climate change – and there doesn’t seem on the face of it to have been a change. Yet between 1978 and 2009, average annual temperatures in the region rose by 2°C and precipitation was higher.

“You see it getting warmer, you see it getting wetter and you see that the moth populations are either staying the same or going up,” said Mark Hunter of the University of Michigan. “So you might think ‘Great. The moths like this warmer, wetter climate.’ But that is not what is happening.”

The study looked at population records for 80 species of moth, and found that 90% of them were stable or increasing through the three decades. But warmer temperatures and wetter seasons are more likely to reduce the rate of population growth: species tend to do best under the conditions to which they have adapted over thousands of years.

“So the only possibility is that something else other than climate change – some other factor that we did not measure – is buffering the moths from substantial population reductions and masking the negative effects of climate change,” Professor Hunter said.

He and his colleagues report in Global Change Biology that they used nocturnal light traps to catch 388,779 moths from 456 species at the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve inside the Arctic Circle, 100 kilometres from a road and about 6 km from the Russian frontier. They selected the data for the 80 most common species for statistical analysis.

Winners and losers

At such high latitudes, any change in climate means a change in vegetation and an altered ecosystem, which should affect insect numbers. So the logic suggests that some unknown forces are at work, to protect the moth numbers just when they should be going down.

Ecologists don’t like unexplained outcomes. Because insects are the most numerous animals on earth, because they are pests, pollinators, food sources and disease bearers, and because their numbers ought to be indicators of both annual and long-term climate change, ecologists like to know what happens to them, and when, and why.

Researchers in Europe and the US have repeatedly tested animal population responses to climate change to identify winners and losers and understand what makes one species a loser, another a winner.

A 20-year study by Ben Hatchwell and colleagues at the University of Sheffield in the UK has found that warm dry spring weather makes all the difference to long-tailed tits: these short-lived passerines stand a much better chance of rearing chicks and then surviving to the next year, and the next chance to breed. A cold wet autumn normally increases mortality, but a preceding warm dry spring can offset this effect, they report in the journal Oikos.

Wide implications

So the British ornithologists have an explanation for one bird’s good performance. The Finnish entomologists would like to know what helps keep the larvae alive and the moths aflutter in the warming, changing Arctic Circle. The question is important not just for one group of high-latitude moths: scientists could be misreading the effects of climate change across a whole suite of species because these effects might be masked by other, unidentified factors.

And it becomes increasingly important with a prediction, from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Norway, that northern Europe could warm by 3°C in the winter by mid-century, with increasing rainfall.

Stefan Sobolowski and Robert Vaulard of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute in France report in Environmental Research Letters that even if global average warming is kept to 2°C there will be “substantial and robust changes” across Europe. Against such a backdrop, it becomes important to know why one group of animals is doing better than expected – for the moment.

“The big unknown is how long this buffering will last,” said Professor Hunter. “Will it keep going indefinitely, or will the negative effects of climate change eventually just override these buffers, causing the moth populations to collapse?” – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LONDON, 22 April – Finnish and US scientists have an unsolved puzzle: good news when they expected bad news. They have invested 32 years studying the forest moths of Finnish Lapland to measure the effect of climate change – and there doesn’t seem on the face of it to have been a change. Yet between 1978 and 2009, average annual temperatures in the region rose by 2°C and precipitation was higher.

“You see it getting warmer, you see it getting wetter and you see that the moth populations are either staying the same or going up,” said Mark Hunter of the University of Michigan. “So you might think ‘Great. The moths like this warmer, wetter climate.’ But that is not what is happening.”

The study looked at population records for 80 species of moth, and found that 90% of them were stable or increasing through the three decades. But warmer temperatures and wetter seasons are more likely to reduce the rate of population growth: species tend to do best under the conditions to which they have adapted over thousands of years.

“So the only possibility is that something else other than climate change – some other factor that we did not measure – is buffering the moths from substantial population reductions and masking the negative effects of climate change,” Professor Hunter said.

He and his colleagues report in Global Change Biology that they used nocturnal light traps to catch 388,779 moths from 456 species at the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve inside the Arctic Circle, 100 kilometres from a road and about 6 km from the Russian frontier. They selected the data for the 80 most common species for statistical analysis.

Winners and losers

At such high latitudes, any change in climate means a change in vegetation and an altered ecosystem, which should affect insect numbers. So the logic suggests that some unknown forces are at work, to protect the moth numbers just when they should be going down.

Ecologists don’t like unexplained outcomes. Because insects are the most numerous animals on earth, because they are pests, pollinators, food sources and disease bearers, and because their numbers ought to be indicators of both annual and long-term climate change, ecologists like to know what happens to them, and when, and why.

Researchers in Europe and the US have repeatedly tested animal population responses to climate change to identify winners and losers and understand what makes one species a loser, another a winner.

A 20-year study by Ben Hatchwell and colleagues at the University of Sheffield in the UK has found that warm dry spring weather makes all the difference to long-tailed tits: these short-lived passerines stand a much better chance of rearing chicks and then surviving to the next year, and the next chance to breed. A cold wet autumn normally increases mortality, but a preceding warm dry spring can offset this effect, they report in the journal Oikos.

Wide implications

So the British ornithologists have an explanation for one bird’s good performance. The Finnish entomologists would like to know what helps keep the larvae alive and the moths aflutter in the warming, changing Arctic Circle. The question is important not just for one group of high-latitude moths: scientists could be misreading the effects of climate change across a whole suite of species because these effects might be masked by other, unidentified factors.

And it becomes increasingly important with a prediction, from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Norway, that northern Europe could warm by 3°C in the winter by mid-century, with increasing rainfall.

Stefan Sobolowski and Robert Vaulard of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute in France report in Environmental Research Letters that even if global average warming is kept to 2°C there will be “substantial and robust changes” across Europe. Against such a backdrop, it becomes important to know why one group of animals is doing better than expected – for the moment.

“The big unknown is how long this buffering will last,” said Professor Hunter. “Will it keep going indefinitely, or will the negative effects of climate change eventually just override these buffers, causing the moth populations to collapse?” – Climate News Network

Lapland’s mystery moths puzzle science

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LONDON, 22 April – Finnish and US scientists have an unsolved puzzle: good news when they expected bad news. They have invested 32 years studying the forest moths of Finnish Lapland to measure the effect of climate change – and there doesn’t seem on the face of it to have been a change. Yet between 1978 and 2009, average annual temperatures in the region rose by 2°C and precipitation was higher. “You see it getting warmer, you see it getting wetter and you see that the moth populations are either staying the same or going up,” said Mark Hunter of the University of Michigan. “So you might think ‘Great. The moths like this warmer, wetter climate.’ But that is not what is happening.” The study looked at population records for 80 species of moth, and found that 90% of them were stable or increasing through the three decades. But warmer temperatures and wetter seasons are more likely to reduce the rate of population growth: species tend to do best under the conditions to which they have adapted over thousands of years. “So the only possibility is that something else other than climate change – some other factor that we did not measure – is buffering the moths from substantial population reductions and masking the negative effects of climate change,” Professor Hunter said. He and his colleagues report in Global Change Biology that they used nocturnal light traps to catch 388,779 moths from 456 species at the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve inside the Arctic Circle, 100 kilometres from a road and about 6 km from the Russian frontier. They selected the data for the 80 most common species for statistical analysis.

Winners and losers

At such high latitudes, any change in climate means a change in vegetation and an altered ecosystem, which should affect insect numbers. So the logic suggests that some unknown forces are at work, to protect the moth numbers just when they should be going down. Ecologists don’t like unexplained outcomes. Because insects are the most numerous animals on earth, because they are pests, pollinators, food sources and disease bearers, and because their numbers ought to be indicators of both annual and long-term climate change, ecologists like to know what happens to them, and when, and why. Researchers in Europe and the US have repeatedly tested animal population responses to climate change to identify winners and losers and understand what makes one species a loser, another a winner. A 20-year study by Ben Hatchwell and colleagues at the University of Sheffield in the UK has found that warm dry spring weather makes all the difference to long-tailed tits: these short-lived passerines stand a much better chance of rearing chicks and then surviving to the next year, and the next chance to breed. A cold wet autumn normally increases mortality, but a preceding warm dry spring can offset this effect, they report in the journal Oikos.

Wide implications

So the British ornithologists have an explanation for one bird’s good performance. The Finnish entomologists would like to know what helps keep the larvae alive and the moths aflutter in the warming, changing Arctic Circle. The question is important not just for one group of high-latitude moths: scientists could be misreading the effects of climate change across a whole suite of species because these effects might be masked by other, unidentified factors. And it becomes increasingly important with a prediction, from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Norway, that northern Europe could warm by 3°C in the winter by mid-century, with increasing rainfall. Stefan Sobolowski and Robert Vaulard of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute in France report in Environmental Research Letters that even if global average warming is kept to 2°C there will be “substantial and robust changes” across Europe. Against such a backdrop, it becomes important to know why one group of animals is doing better than expected – for the moment. “The big unknown is how long this buffering will last,” said Professor Hunter. “Will it keep going indefinitely, or will the negative effects of climate change eventually just override these buffers, causing the moth populations to collapse?” – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE LONDON, 22 April – Finnish and US scientists have an unsolved puzzle: good news when they expected bad news. They have invested 32 years studying the forest moths of Finnish Lapland to measure the effect of climate change – and there doesn’t seem on the face of it to have been a change. Yet between 1978 and 2009, average annual temperatures in the region rose by 2°C and precipitation was higher. “You see it getting warmer, you see it getting wetter and you see that the moth populations are either staying the same or going up,” said Mark Hunter of the University of Michigan. “So you might think ‘Great. The moths like this warmer, wetter climate.’ But that is not what is happening.” The study looked at population records for 80 species of moth, and found that 90% of them were stable or increasing through the three decades. But warmer temperatures and wetter seasons are more likely to reduce the rate of population growth: species tend to do best under the conditions to which they have adapted over thousands of years. “So the only possibility is that something else other than climate change – some other factor that we did not measure – is buffering the moths from substantial population reductions and masking the negative effects of climate change,” Professor Hunter said. He and his colleagues report in Global Change Biology that they used nocturnal light traps to catch 388,779 moths from 456 species at the Värriö Strict Nature Reserve inside the Arctic Circle, 100 kilometres from a road and about 6 km from the Russian frontier. They selected the data for the 80 most common species for statistical analysis.

Winners and losers

At such high latitudes, any change in climate means a change in vegetation and an altered ecosystem, which should affect insect numbers. So the logic suggests that some unknown forces are at work, to protect the moth numbers just when they should be going down. Ecologists don’t like unexplained outcomes. Because insects are the most numerous animals on earth, because they are pests, pollinators, food sources and disease bearers, and because their numbers ought to be indicators of both annual and long-term climate change, ecologists like to know what happens to them, and when, and why. Researchers in Europe and the US have repeatedly tested animal population responses to climate change to identify winners and losers and understand what makes one species a loser, another a winner. A 20-year study by Ben Hatchwell and colleagues at the University of Sheffield in the UK has found that warm dry spring weather makes all the difference to long-tailed tits: these short-lived passerines stand a much better chance of rearing chicks and then surviving to the next year, and the next chance to breed. A cold wet autumn normally increases mortality, but a preceding warm dry spring can offset this effect, they report in the journal Oikos.

Wide implications

So the British ornithologists have an explanation for one bird’s good performance. The Finnish entomologists would like to know what helps keep the larvae alive and the moths aflutter in the warming, changing Arctic Circle. The question is important not just for one group of high-latitude moths: scientists could be misreading the effects of climate change across a whole suite of species because these effects might be masked by other, unidentified factors. And it becomes increasingly important with a prediction, from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Norway, that northern Europe could warm by 3°C in the winter by mid-century, with increasing rainfall. Stefan Sobolowski and Robert Vaulard of the Pierre-Simon Laplace Institute in France report in Environmental Research Letters that even if global average warming is kept to 2°C there will be “substantial and robust changes” across Europe. Against such a backdrop, it becomes important to know why one group of animals is doing better than expected – for the moment. “The big unknown is how long this buffering will last,” said Professor Hunter. “Will it keep going indefinitely, or will the negative effects of climate change eventually just override these buffers, causing the moth populations to collapse?” – Climate News Network