Author: David Rowlinson
Tasmania has announced it will be the first state in Australia to adopt a wood encouragement policy (WEP). The focus of WEPs is to ensure wood is considered for the initial stages of public building projects.
Responsibly sourced, certified wood has significant positive environmental outcomes over more common concrete and steel construction. It helps reduce the impacts of climate change, it’s renewable, it stores carbon and it prevents the release of emissions by replacing carbon intensive materials. In addition, wood has proven health and wellbeing benefits, is cost-effective and quick to construct.
More than 20% of Australia’s carbon emissions come from the constructing and maintaining the built environment so making the switch to wood, as a major building material is a key strategy for addressing climate change.
The Tasmanian announcement follows the adoption of wood encouragement policies in six Australian councils including Latrobe and Wellington in Victoria, Tumut in NSW, Wattle Ranges in SA and Nannup in WA. Two Canadian provinces, BC and Quebec, and the national governments of Finland, France and the Netherlands also have similar policies.
Although the aim of the policies is to increase the use of timber as a construction material they work in different ways. Some, for example, give a 5% cost preference to buildings with significant wood while others require that 20% of all material used to construct the building is wood.
We hope to see more such policies rolled out at the local and state level over the coming years.