Swedish collaboration delivers modular hybrid wall for sustainable construction

Modular hybrid wall collaboration between Heidelberg Materials Preca and engineered timber manufacturer Metsä Wood 60% lighter than traditional concrete.

Swedish materials companies have joined forces to develop a modular hybrid wall element that significantly reduces the carbon footprint compared to conventional concrete walls. The collaboration between Heidelberg Materials Preca, a concrete element manufacturer, and engineered timber manufacturer Metsä Wood, has resulted in a wall system that is 60% lighter than traditional concrete and has a 30-50% lower climate impact. (image credits: Heidelberg Materials Preca / Metsä Wood.)

The hybrid modular wall is a sandwich construction comprising a ‘climate-improved’ concrete facade, intermediate insulation, and a load-bearing inner panel made of laminated veneer lumber. According to a company release, this combination not only minimises environmental impact but also enhances material efficiency. To assess the performance of the hybrid element, the team constructed a home equipped with moisture sensors to monitor the wall and indoor environment. The findings suggest that using this system in a typical house could reduce the overall structure’s climate impact by 15-25%.

The modular hybrid wall element is suitable for buildings up to five floors, including residential, office, school, and healthcare facilities. Håkan Arnebrant, Business Development Manager at Metsä Wood, emphasised the growing demand for eco-friendly solutions in the construction sector. He stated, “The European Union aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, and the construction industry can contribute significantly to reach this target. We’re experiencing a demand for climate-smart solutions from the construction industry.”

Arnebrant further highlighted the practical advantages of the modular hybrid wall element, saying, “One of the advantages of this hybrid element is that construction contractors do not have to change their way of building with concrete elements but can still lower their carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, the walls can be made 50–75 millimetres thinner than walls built with concrete elements, which can give quite a few extra square metres in a building.”

The production process of their modular hybrid wall elements closely resembles that of traditional concrete walls, ensuring a smooth integration into existing construction practices. Daniel Eriksson, division manager at Heidelberg Materials Precast Contiga, explained, “The production method is very similar to what we already have, so we can create these hybrid elements using the same approach as our other walls, and they are assembled in the same way. We haven’t made any major investments or modifications.”

Contact: Henni Rousu, Marketing Director, Metsä Wood
tel. +358 40 554 8388, henni.rousu@metsagroup.com

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