Author: Chris Philpot
We all remember the fairy tale ‘The Three Little Pigs' but probably don't realise that they would all be much safer in today's world. These days straw, twigs and brick could be better known as steel, structural timber and concrete. But what would the three little pigs of today choose as the most environmentally sustainable option?
Steel and concrete are carbon intensive materials sourced from fossil fuels. It takes much more energy to produce these building materials than wood. Responsibly sourced wood, like certified plantation pine, is renewable and is the much more sustainable option.
Giant sheets of wood, otherwise known as cross laminate timber are being used all over the world to build structures, in some cases as tall as 10 storeys. If the wood used for building is sourced from well-managed forests these structures have the potential to store vast amounts of carbon, in turn helping to tackle climate change.
The Forté building in Melbourne is one example. At ten storeys, Forté will be the tallest timber apartment building in the world. By using cross laminate timber, Forté, will reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by more than 1,400 tonnes when compared to concrete and steel - the equivalent of removing 345 cars from the roads.
So the big bad wolf may have blown down the 2nd little pigs house built from twigs but with these amazing leaps in technology wood is a durable, long lasting, fire safe building material that can be an environmentally sustainable building option.