We seem to be having babies by the millions, born in hospitals and schooled in locations that are using dinosaur fuels. Do the math, does that make sense? We asked Silvio Spiess, a veteran of sustainable building ideas, and the CEO of Innasol about what we need to think about with a growing population and sustainable energy solutions to take care of them.

‘There will be 8 billion people on this planet soon, and of course we have to think about how to manage that. How can so many people in the short future live in an acceptable way on this planet and with our forests? Forests play the most essential role to our survival. Trees in general are responsible for the balancing out of oxygen and carbon. That is very key for the planet now, and in the future. We have to see the very big picture here -> that THIS stays in a balance. With renewable energies, and addressing it sooner, rather than later, we have a good chance at being able to contribute to this delicate balance, and take care of the extra billions of people who need it”.

If you think about the future, it’s clear the future will be without fossil fuels. We will run out of fossil fuels and I think that is a very clear that everyone knows that already. The topic of discussion, is only about time. When this will be, maybe in 30 years, maybe in 50 years, maybe in 100 years. In the long history of our planet, it’s close to nothing, that it’s tomorrow or the next minute, it is a matter of perspective.’

When we run out of those fuels we will need other technologies, and what would make more sense than a sustainable one? That’s the big picture we have to see. And this is why also biomass plays a role, bringing a positive contribution to future energy needs, with a growing population. We have the opportunity now, with sustainable forestry management as the source for providing woodfuel for efficient boilers for water and air heating. With this approach, we might just be able to help our next generation. But we need to think of the future, and act now. The answer isn’t unknown, in fact the Forestry Commission said that it is says that by the year 2020, an extra 2 million tonnes a year of woodfuel could be used for heating buildings in England. Currently, they said we use less than 1.5 tonnes of home-grown wood as fuel. We literally have the answer on our doorstep, like Goldilocks looking at a field of porridge.

Angus Duguid, an expert in construction projects, said that although we might know the answer, it is a matter of thinking differently.

‘We are going into a new era, and we have to look at how we are utilising the materials that we have. It’s back to scarcity of resources. We have to think in new ways, compared to what we did in the past. You can see in this already in the UK with respect to how people are building their houses. We are typically a brick-built house market, and you can see that the market has moved to timber frame houses relatively quickly in the last year, which are more cost efficient and also environmentally friendly when the wood comes from a certified and sustainable source. It comes from our demanding, of new ways, and new world thinking. If there is a demand for it and industry, it goes back to the drawing boards and thinks of new growth patterns. The more something is used, the greater it’s managed because people will invest in it. If people don’t demand it, then they won’t invest in it. So it’s up to us now, to help rewire thinking”.

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