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Climate Change

Wood replaces steel as Japan builders fight climate change

New fire-resistant materials help multistory buildings go green

About 90% of this 11-story high-rise built by Obayashi is made from wood. (Photo by Shugo Tamura)

TOKYO -- With its sleek modern design, the 44-meter, 11-story Port Plus building stands out even in Yokohama's posh Naka Ward. But what really sets it apart from other buildings in the neighborhood is that 90% of its structural elements are made with wood.

Built by engineering group Obayashi, the building is an example of how Japan's leading builders exploring wood as an alternative to steel and concrete -- two of the most carbon-intensive materials -- as nations look to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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