Stora Enso, in collaboration with Stugeba, recently built several new schools in and around Vienna, Austria, made of wood. Not only are school buildings constructed in wood popular among pupils, parents, and teachers, they are also appreciated by local councils dealing with the rapid growth of communities and the urgent need of new classrooms. These wooden schools can be built fairly quickly in modules using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).
From order to operational in just seven months
"We knew that Stora Enso is the world largest CLT producer and a well-known brand with a good network in the wood industry. So when looking for a partner in wooden construction it was natural to make contact," says Jürgen Sturmer, CEO Stugeba.
The collaboration has worked out well. Five schools, with a total of 27 classrooms, have been built so far. "More are planned. This has really set a trend in Austria, where wood is already very common for single-family houses. Now, more and more public buildings are also made of wood and people are starting to realise that all wooden buildings don't have to look like alpine chalets," says Gernot Weiss, Director Marketing & Sales at Stora Enso Wood Products in Austria.
Renewable material that lowers stress levels
Wooden buildings are growing in demand. Researchers at the Joanneum Research Centre in Graz conducted studies showing that stress levels are lower in wooden schools and that the wood actually lowers people's heart rates. It has also been shown that teachers choose wooden classrooms over other types of classrooms, in schools with wooden extensions. Even the city of Vienna has started to request wood as building material in its tender processes. The ecological aspect of wood, and the fact that it is a renewable material, is greatly valued.
Prefabricated modules of CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) can make the building process very rapid. CLT is a solid wood construction product made of at least three layers of single-ply boards glued together, using environmentally friendly adhesive. Stora Enso produces CLT panels at the Austrian mills of Bad St. Leonhard and Ybbs.