BuildX and partners are pioneering mass timber in East Africa, the most promising opportunity for eliminating carbon in buildings on a global scale.
Rising GHG emissions and depleting natural carbon sinks are changing our climate, risking human life and our planet. We must make urgent changes, globally.
A Warming Planet
We take a low carbon approach to design and construction. We set environmental performance targets for all our projects and support our clients who want to find innovative green building solutions.
39% CO2 by Buildings
Buildings & construction are among the greatest GHG emitters, responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions (incl. embodied and operating emissions).
Africa suffers from one of the fastest deforestation rates globally, losing an estimated 4M Ha per year (~5.6M football fields), and depleting the amount of carbon being naturally removed from the atmosphere.
1.25B Population Rise
More than half of the population growth this century will occur in Africa. This will drive demand for new buildings, with 35% of all global construction by 2060 expected to occur in Africa.
Trees naturally sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is stored when used in durable products. By using sustainable wood products to construct buildings we guarantee that carbon is locked away long-term, whilst we are also avoiding the high carbon emissions from using concrete or steel.
Mass timber is a building system using multiple solid wood pieces bonded together to create panels, posts, beams and other elements of exceptional strength. Mass Timber is a climate-friendly substitute to concrete and steel. The most common type of mass timber is Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) panels. CLT panels consist of layered timber boards (usually three, five or seven) stacked crosswise at 90 degree angles and glued into place which offers high strength and structural stability.
Since the early 2000s mass timber markets have successfully been established in Europe and North America. To date, in Africa, mass timber processing and building has been introduced at a small scale in South Africa and, more recently, in Tanzania. Our mass timber initiative (BuildX LT) is based on a coordinated collaboration with organisations operating in the forestry and wood processing sectors across East Africa.
Within this wider collaboration, as BuildX, we aim to establish demand for and a pipeline of mass timber building projects in Kenya, which is required to promote the creation of in-country processing facilities for cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a high value market for sustainable timber. Long-term this will incentivize investments in a sustainable forest economy across East Africa.
We have recently completed the first phase of our BuildX LT initiative. During this two-year period, we formed sector relationships, constructed a full-scale CLT prototype, and carried out a comprehensive feasibility study for mass timber – particularly CLT (or Cross-Laminated Timber) – as a net-negative carbon (climate-positive), faster and potentially more affordable solution for urban buildings.
The completed CLT prototype exhibition space aimed at introducing people to the material and its opportunities
We also developed a flat-pack CLT concept design system for housing (called ‘MODUL’), with two market versions focused on low income and middle income audiences.
As a result of our work to date we have been selected as the lead partner for a mass timber Breakthrough Initiative under the Climate Smart Forest Economy Programme . Having developed a clear case for developing a mass timber construction market in East Africa, we are now focusing on creating the first mass timber buildings in Kenya (alongside other sector-wide activities we will carry out with our partners).
We consider such demonstration projects as a critical step towards creating market demand and fostering an enabling environment for mass timber processing and building at commercial scale.
We are part of a consortium of companies and projects promoting the sustainable usage of African timber for African development. Learn more about the Mass Timber Africa initiative.
DOEN Foundation, Autodesk Foundation, Mulago Foundation, Good Energies Foundation
R&D, Prototyping, Design, Build, Develop
Gatsby Africa, Climate Smart Forest Economy Programme