WHY CHOOSE TIMBER?
Whether you’re planning the build of your new home or a professional working in large-scale development, consider the significant environmental and health benefits of building with responsibly sourced wood as part of the solution to climate change. The reason wood can play a big part in helping tackle climate change is because timber is one of the few natural, 100% renewable building materials.
Responsibly sourced wood is the only renewable building material available; it is naturally grown and removes CO2 from the atmosphere. Wood products then store the carbon that the growing trees have removed from the air (about 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon).
The production and processing of wood uses much less energy – called embodied energy – than most other building materials, giving wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint. Wood can be used to substitute for materials that require larger amounts of fossil fuels to be produced.
Embodied carbon emissions in the construction sector account for over 23 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. The production and processing of timber uses much less energy than most other, more carbon intensive building materials such as steel and concrete. As a general rule, if we can replace a cubic metre of concrete with a cubic metre of timber, about a tonne (1000 kilograms) of CO2 emissions will be avoided.
There are many benefits of using responsibly sourced wood.
CREATING A GREENER FUTURE WITH THE ULTIMATE RENEWABLE™
When people think of renewables, they tend to think of wind farms or solar panels, but they don’t think of forests or building with wood. Wood is The Ultimate Renewable – helping us to live on nature’s interest, not its capital.
Choosing timber in design and construction can help tackle climate change in several ways. One of the most important is that wood stores carbon.
As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide. When the trees are sustainably harvested and used to make wood products, the carbon remains stored in the wood for the life of the product. About 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon.
STRONG & DURABLE
Timber is one of the world’s top performing construction materials. Tried and tested over centuries, it’s inherent beauty, strength and durability has seen it remain one of the most popular building materials to this day.
Yes, timber is a combustible material, but it burns in a slow, predictable and measurable way. These factors mean that timber actually performs strongly in fire events, when compared to other materials.
During the event of a fire, a charcoal layer will be formed on the surface of the timber and this layer will contribute to the fire resistance of the material. The charcoal layer insulates the inner core of the timber and it will slow down the heat penetration, keeping the temperate in the unburned material low and enabling the timber to carry its load much longer than steel. The protective charcoal layer created during a fire will also reduce the overall combustion rate of the timber.
This natural self-defence mechanism increases the possibility for a timber structure to survive a fire while maintaining its strength and stability.
TIMBER IS A NATURAL INSULATOR
Timber is a natural insulator due to the air pockets within its cellular structure. As an insulator wood is 15 times better than masonry and concrete, 400 times better than steel, and 1,770 times better than aluminium. This helps to reduce the cost of heating and cooling a building.
WOOD ENCOURAGEMENT POLICIES (WEP)
FTMA Australia Supports and Promotes WEP in Australia.
Tasmania has become the first state government in Australia to adopt a state-wide Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP). In addition, there are two local government authorities and fifteen local councils that have also adopted a WEP, and Rotorua Lakes Council has done some ground-breaking work in New Zealand. The adoption of similar policies around the world is growing steadily, including Canada, Japan, France, Finland, Netherlands and the UK, who are all encouraging the use of natural, timber-based products in construction.