The EFV is the federation of national premanufactured building associations in Europe. Today the federation consists of the eight national members Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. Together these eight associations stand for a total number of more than 3 million buildings or approx. 20.000 premanufactured buildings per year – mainly one and two family homes.
The organisations driving principle is the promotion of the competitiveness of premanufactured construction in timber. In addition EFV looks after innovative research projects and further developments of the premanufactured building industry on the European level. The organisation also aims to establish rules for fair competition considering the interests of the consumers.
Towards the public, the press, and the political decision makers EFV wants to underline the advantages of premanufactured construction and the building material wood/timber:
1. High quality standards and high energy efficiency
Building a premanufactured timber frame house is an important contribution to energy saving and building quality. The high quality level of timber frame buildings is ensured by manufacturing them in factories independently from weather conditions on site. Leading quality control systems are installed in every member country of EFV. There are minimum-performance requirements established independently of the national laws as well as internal and external monitoring systems.
Timber has an excellent energy balance. Premanufactured timber frame houses are well-known for their excellent insulating properties. The future-orientated passive house completely operates without a conventional heating system.
2. Natural carbon sink and building material with low CO2 emissions
End of the year 2008 the EU adopted an energy and climate change policy, including ambitious targets for 2020 with the aims to cut greenhouse gases, increase energy efficiency and increase energy need from renewable sources. This ’20 per cent strategy’ is closely linked to parallel programs on national level in the member states.
The EFV supports these strategies and can give a positive contribution to it. As most of the energy today is used inside buildings it is the energy efficiency of these buildings that counts in the end. Timber construction has a higher heat insulation value than conventional constructions methods. To reach the same heat insulation a conventional construction has to be much thicker than a timber construction. Building a premanufactured timber frame house is an important contribution to environment protection. To build a premanufactured home, an average of 25 cubic metres of European wood is used – mainly domestic spruce.
Besides the high energy efficiency of timber constructions the second advantage of these houses is the usage of the natural building material wood. Building with wood causes much lower CO2 emissions than building with conventional construction material. A new survey carried out in Germany by the University of Hamburg and the University of Stuttgart makes clear, that the greenhouse potential of a wooden construction makes only 7 % of a conventional solid construction. A private timber home over a total lifetime period saves the equivalent of nearly 4000 litres oil or 6.7 years of driving a car.
Political aims: Increase percentage of wooden construction
Although the advantages of timber constructions with regard to climate and energy efficiency are obvious the majority of all new buildings in Europe is still conventional. We therefore want to exchange our views with the Commission on possible ways to increase the percentage of wooden constructions in Europe. Possible topics are the usage of renewable material for public buildings, Eco labelling for buildings or VAT reduction for ‘green material’. In the end building with wood must cause a financial benefit for everyone building a ‘green’ house.