Author: David Rowlinson
Fraser Coast Council has become the first local council in Queensland to adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy, the focus of which is to ensure wood is considered for the initial stages of public building projects. At its meeting on 18 January the Council voted unanimously to adopt the policy.
The policy requires responsibly sourced wood to be considered, where feasible, as the first-choice construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects. This follows changes recently to the National Construction Code to allow for timber products such as CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) to be utilised in more construction projects.
More than 20% of Australia’s carbon emissions come from 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.
Responsibly sourced, certified timber is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change. Timber is renewable, it absorbs carbon from our atmosphere which is then stored in the wood for the life of the building, and there are fewer carbon emissions associated with its production when compared to carbon-intensive building materials such as concrete or steel. Wood is also cost-effective, quick to construct, and has proven health and wellbeing benefits.
Planet Ark has worked closely with Timber Queensland to promote the significant environmental benefits that building with timber provides. “Fraser Coast Council are to be congratulated for leading the way in Queensland with the introduction of this policy which not only supports the forest and timber industry but will generate significant carbon benefits,” said Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens.
This announcement follows the adoption of similar Wood Encouragement Policies by two regional and nine local councils in Australia, including Latrobe City Council and Wellington Shire in Victoria, and joins others around the world, including Rotorua in New Zealand, Hackney in London, British Columbia in Canada, Finland, France and The Netherlands.
As an example of the environmental benefits of these policies, the Library at the Dock in Melbourne (pictured above) is Australia's first six-star Green Star council-owned building constructed from modern engineered mass timber. It stores 500 tonnes of carbon in its structure, locking it out of the atmosphere for the life of the building.