Timber: a soloution for future sustainable buildings?


Working with timber has been one of the highlights for me on my boat building project. It has cause me to wonder why timber is not more extensively used in the construction industry in this country. Timber engineering has come a long way, and some architects say it is now possible to build skyscrapers. Here is a link to an ambitious project in London: Timber could transform London’s skyline


The environmental advantages are numerous. Sourced from managed plantations, its a sustainable resource. Instead of adding carbon, timber locks it away. Due to its light weight, it takes significantly less energy to harvest, transport and erect, compared to steel and concrete. One expert recently said timber construction would require about half the trucks necessary to deliver materials to a large multi-story build: a bonus for busy CBD sites. At the end of its lifespan a timber building can be salvaged, and the demolition process has much less impact on the surrounding areas. Timber can give centuries of service, as it gets re-purposed from one use to the next. There are examples of medieval timber buildings, centuries old, still providing shelter and warmth.  A revitalised timber industry could be part of the much talked about transition economy, soaking up lost jobs, as we move from our dependance on heavy mining. Best of all, instead of shipping our precious timber resource away as low value wood-chips, as is currently the pracice in Tasmania, we could use it to its fullest potential. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Timber: a soloution for future sustainable buildings?

  1. Pete it sounds like a sound project to me. One question however,is there a limit to how much timber is available without endangering the fine ecological balance ?


    • Yep, a really good question: I guess it would be about properly managed plantations. Timber harvesting has a bad name in Aus because of the battle over Tasmanian old-growth forests to sell as wood-chips. Tree farming is big in Europe where timber construction is considered ecologicaly superior to concrete and steel.


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