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Introduction

The European timber housing market is growing rapidly, and is currently approaching a production level worth  8 billion euros. In Germany 15% of dwellings are built of wood, and this percentage rises to 50% in Japan and has almost reached 90% in North America.
Timber is particularly popular as a building material both for its excellent performance and energy-saving features and in terms of environmental sustainability. Every cubic metre of cement that is replaced by wood is the equivalent of one ton less of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. For example: the construction of a three-storey building in wood is equivalent to removing 60 automobiles from the roads..