The Mayor of Seoul Supports the Wood Construction for Carbon Mitigation

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

The Mayor of Seoul has publicly supported the use of wood construction in the city’s urban development plan at a national forum summit. On April 22nd, at a forum themed “Pathway to Carbon Neutriality 2050”, Mr. Se-Hoon Oh, keynote speaker told the audience that his municipality aims to advance the wood construction as a means of carbon mitigation.

This announcement aligns with the Korean’s government’s carbon neutrality strategy which set out a roadmap that will channel public and private funds toward areas such as green buildings and renewable energy. The strategy recognizes the contributive role of forests as carbon sinks and wood products as carbon stores.

“Building with wood achieves significant embedded carbon reduction over steel and concrete. Countries with leading technologies in this area have developed mass timber building systems with better performance in strength, fire-safety, and durability. We will soon work with the Korea Forest Service (KFS) to encourage the use of domestic wood to advance the development of this sector. We’ve built the demonstration project of ‘Hangreen Wooden Building’ in 2019 in Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do to showcase its feasibility.” said Mayor Oh.

Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon. Photo credit: Newsis

He later emphasized that “In the past, it’s been business communities leading the ESG movement, now it’s time for the government to step up to promote and implement ESG practices across our jurisdictions. We are paying attention to our responsibilities and making a lot of investment and efforts from the policy standpoint.”

“The city of Seoul aims to invest a total of 10 billion dollars over the next five years in green infrastructures to help build a sustainable and resilient economy. We will support the advancement of zero-energy buildings with the government fundings. Work has already been ongoing to transition old buildings toward net-zero with government subsidy programs. ” he further added.

In 2020, the Korean government removed the height restriction on wood construction, and as a result, a 7-storey wooden building will be constructed in Daejeon in 2024. This building is planned to be used by the Korea Forest Welfare Promotion Agency as a training facility for forest welfare experts. The current record holder in Korea is the 5-storey “Hangreen” building built in 2019 by National Forest Research Institute of Korea.

The tallest wooden building in Korea. Photo Credit: imwood