Better buildings
January 15, 2019

The benefits of using wood in schools

Westview Elementary main atrium

Westview Elementary School | KMBR Architects Planners Inc. | Photo credit: Ed White Photographics

The use of wood in schools across British Columbia as a primary building material is increasing as communities, builders and government across the province recognize its value from traditional dimensional lumber framing to innovative mass timber systems.

Wood buildings are safe and resilient, meeting or exceeding the most demanding seismic, fire and wind requirements. School districts can also demonstrate a commitment to climate action and the environmental future of their students by choosing wood, a renewable product that stores carbon.

An increasing body of evidence further recognizes that the design of indoor environments is critical to human health and that building with wood can contribute to our sense of well-being. Studies have found that wood interiors reduce stress, and that it provides productive and high-quality learning spaces for students and teachers.

I think you definitely feel better once you’ve been in a space that incorporates wood. It clears your head. We often have students that just come to the rotunda to be there, enjoy the space, and hang out. It’s open and the wood beams are beautiful and inviting. I think it helps with anxiety.

– Rob Comeau, Principal, Abbotsford Senior Secondary School

With carbon neutral government commitments, the use of wood will continue to be showcased within upcoming schools in the province.

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Wood Use in British Columbia Schools

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Wood Use in British Columbia Schools: research by Fast + Epp and Stantec

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Seismic design with wood: Solutions for British Columbia schools

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Abbotsford Senior Secondary School

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Samuel Brighouse Elementary School

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