The Emergy of Digital Wood

  • Chris BeorkremEmail author
Part of the Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering book series (LNCE, volume 24)


The construction industry and building sector are now widely known to be one of the biggest energy consumers and carbon emitters. Some architectural agendas for sustainability focus on ‘energy efficiency’ or buildings that minimize their energy intake during their lifetime—through the use of new ‘greener’ elements, such as more efficient mechanical systems or more insulative wall systems. The focus on the efficiency of one aspect or system of the building, versus the effectiveness of the whole, leads to ad hoc ecology and results in the familiar “law of unintended consequences.” This chapter explores the ways in which researchers have been exploring the use of technology to expand the use of wood while minimizing the ‘emergy’ or energy memory of the material being consumed. These explorations are two-fold; using wood as a responsive material which can adapt to its environment with no external energy, improving the performance of a building, and the creation of construction methods and joinery which responds to the inherit “liveness” of the wood. This chapter will explore the notion of emergy through a series of case studies which exemplify research that can capitalize on dramatic advancements in the use of scanning methods and robotic technology to greatly expand the performance of wood.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNC CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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