Walailak University Collaborates with Top International Universities for Timber Engineering Symposium, Spotlighting Carbon Footprint Reduction

Walailak University (WU), by the School of Engineering and Technology (SET) and the Center of Excellence in Wood and Biomaterials, has partnered with three top universities in the world: The University of British Columbia in Canada, Seoul National University in South Korea, and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand to organize the International Timber Engineering Education and Research Symposium, today, at Pattarathammaporn Chamber, WU Hospital,

The event aimed to raise awareness about the use of timber engineering to reduce carbon footprints, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Presiding over the event was Professor Dr. Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, President of WU, who delivered the opening speech and emphasized the university’s commitment to conducting cutting-edge research as categorized as a global and frontier research university by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), Thailand.

“In alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, Walailak University has been acknowledged by Time Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023 with the band of 401-600,” President Sombat highlighted.

“We are committed to promoting environmental sustainability, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the construction industry. We are confident that the advocating for wood as a construction material aligns with our goal of achieving a green society in the long term,” President Sombat said.

Associate Professor Dr. Suthon Srivaro, a lecturer from SET and the Symposium Chair, said that nowadays the use of wood in construction has gained more popularity in many countries due to the concern about global warming.

“Much attention has been given to the construction industry due to its greenhouse gas emission which is a major cause of global warming crisis. Therefore, wood has become a popular choice for building construction because it has lower carbon footprints than other construction materials.” 

“The research on timber engineering has progressed rapidly in recent years. We can now see tall timber buildings of up to 10-storey across the world,’ he added.

The event was honored to have Dr. Kanop Ketchart, Mayor of Nakhon Si Thammarat City Municipality, deliver a plenary lecture titled “Sustainable Urban Development of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in Line with SDGs: Green Building Perspective”, which emphasized how the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat implemented the SDGs through local actions.

The efforts included the establishment of a community–based flood early warning system that uses cameras and sensors to monitor river water levels, aiming to reduce loss from flooding by sharing real-time data with residents in flood-prone areas. 

The “Smart City Platform” project, using the Line application, focuses on increasing public access to city services and addressing people’s complaints within 48 hours. It receives over 5,000 cases annually. 

The “Metaverse and Education” project that integrates metaverse technology in schools, and “The Mayor Classroom” project that was established for underprivileged students aged six to twelve enhance educational opportunities for all.

Mayor Kanop said that one of the city’s strengths is that it has various types of wood, including Rubberwood, Palm tree wood, and Coconut wood, suitable for construction and export to many provinces. 

“Our province is also popular in cultural tourism. Tourists come to see our old town and sacred places.” 

“Walailaik University has this knowledge base, with lecturers, and students working to advance Timber Engineering. If we could apply these advancements in the City of Nakhon Si Thammarat, the municipality is very happy to collaborate with Dr. Suthon, the wood team, and Walailak University to promote the practical use of wood in Nakhon Si Thammarat.” 

The symposium also included talks on Timber Engineering Education in Canada by Associate Professor Dr. Minghao Li from the University of British Columbia, Efforts in South Korea to Promote Timber Engineering by Associate Professor Dr. Jung-Known Oh from Seoul National University, and Academic and Industrial Training in Timber Engineering in New Zealand by Dr. Hyungsuk Lim from the University of Canterbury.

Around 100 participants from the Thai Timber association, wood-related industries, the construction industry, government agencies, and schools attended the event.

Earlier this year, Walailak University received the 2023 Outstanding Award for Excellence in International Highly-caliber Research from MHESI. And researchers from the WU Center of Excellence in Wood and Biomaterials have made scientific breakthroughs contributing to the betterment of the Thai wood industry and society. These include a method to prevent the collapse of oil palm wood during drying and the creation of an AI-powered automatic wood core detection system that could potentially save up to 6 million baht per year from wood sheet damages.

News by Settaboot Onphakdee, Division of Corporate Communication