Round Wood Poles and the 5G Revolution
Learn more about round wood poles and their applications for the telecommunications industry, get answers to frequently asked questions, and understand small cell requirements.Read More
In Italy, a 130-foot-tall wooden tower hovers above the city of Milan, right beside a local conservation area. According to an article by Forest.fi, the natural, discreet wood telecommunications tower – the first of its kind in Italy – replaced the previously-existing steel structure to blend in with its wooded surroundings.
The construction of the wood structure – unlike an imposing steel tower – was celebrated by the surrounding community.
“Wooden-structured towers have the advantage of being widely accepted by the general public,” said Gyöngyi Mátray, CEO of EcoTelligent, in the Forest.fi article. “People feel that they are entitled to have access to telecommunication services, but equally to a pleasant living environment.”
But aesthetics aren’t the only reason wood telecommunications structures are starting to make waves. Wood towers are far more environmentally friendly than their steel alternatives, which leave a carbon footprint. And during a time when tens of thousands of telecom towers must be built to keep up with demand, it begs the question: which option – wood or steel – is going to be the most sustainable?
For many telecom service providers and builders across the world, the answer to that question is starting to be timber.
The switch from steel to timber isn’t just happening in the telecom industry. It’s taking root in architecture across the world, according to a recent article in Bloomberg News. According to the article, a Norwegian timber company called Tewo is using 3D modeling to engineer prefab CLT panels to build homes in Norway faster than with conventional materials.
And according to the same article, in 2017, the University of British Columbia opened a modern student residence called Tallwood House – made of mass timber.
In 2020, Sidewalk Toronto – a project spawned by Google’s urban planning arm, Alphabet Company, was called off in the midst of the pandemic. The comprehensive cityscape plan was meant to introduce a new model of urban development along Toronto’s eastern waterfront. According to plan documents, the goal was to bring the highest level of sustainability, economic opportunity, housing affordability, and new mobility to the area.
The secret ingredient for this futuristic Google-like cityscape was to use mass timber in high-rise buildings and in the building facades along the riverfront.
According to Sidewalk Toronto’s mass timber plan, “the decision to experiment with timber construction can and should be part of any strategic look for construction practices. You cannot just evaluate it based on today’s conditions. Knowing the imminent changes, leading companies must venture into innovating the future of mass timber.”
It’s fair to say that Google, and its urban planning arm that wrote the mass timber plan for Sidewalk Toronto, has its pulse on where the future might tilt when it comes to building materials and structures. And if Google’s own building plans are any indication, the future is timber.
Bell Structural Solutions recently started offering wood telecommunications structures as an alternative to steel: an option that’s just starting to snag the attention of telecom providers who want to invest in more sustainable solutions to support their growth.
“One of the ways the telecom industry can be kinder to the planet is by switching from steel telecom structures to timber,” said Bell Structural Solutions President Tom Bell. “That’s why Bell Structural Solutions is leading the charge when it comes to providing our customers with wood telecom structures in the U.S.”