Plea for Queens­land to adopt wood first pol­icy

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

THE QUEENS­LAND State and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments are be­ing urged to con­sider wood as the pre­ferred ma­te­rial of choice for all pub­lic sec­tor build­ing and con­struc­tion pro­cure­ment projects.

The plea was made by peak in­dus­try body Tim­ber Queens­land, which has launched a state-wide ‘wood en­cour­age­ment’ cam­paign.

Work­ing in con­junc­tion with Planet Ark En­vi­ron­men­tal Foun­da­tion, Tim­ber Queens­land Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mick Stephens ex­plained how us­ing more wood in build­ing and hous­ing could re­duce our car­bon foot­print.

“Tim­ber is a re­new­able ma­te­rial that uses lit­tle en­ergy to pro­duce com­pared to emis­sion-in­ten­sive build­ing ma­te­ri­als, such as steel and con­crete. rather than rely on fos­sil fuel in­puts, and re­move car­bon emis­sions from the at­mos­phere in the same process,” said Mr Stephens.

“Switch­ing to a greater use of tim­ber in build­ings can gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cant car­bon ben­e­fits.

“For ex­am­ple, if half of all new res­i­den­tial dwellings built in Queens­land in any one year were ‘tim­ber max­imised’, this would equate to a sav­ing of 600,000 tonnes of car­bon emis­sions per year com­pared to other ma­te­ri­als, or 6 mil­lion tonnes over a 10-year pe­riod,” he said.

For th­ese rea­sons, many Gov­ern­ments around the world are adopt­ing a Wood En­cour­age­ment Pol­icy (WEP) as part of their pro­cure­ment prac­tices to bet­ter cap­ture car­bon abate­ment ben­e­fits in con­struc­tion. Th­ese in­clude New Zealand, Canada, France, Fin­land and the Nether­lands, as well as many lo­cal gov­ern­ments in Aus­tralia, in­clud­ing the La­trobe City (Vic­to­ria), Tu­mut (NSW), Wattle Range (SA) and Nan­nup (WA) coun­cils. Cur­rently, th­ese are no coun­cils in Queens­land that have such a pol­icy. As part of the cam­paign launch, Tim­ber Queens­land and Planet Ark vis­ited a num­ber of lo­cal coun­cils in the south-east re­gion, in­clud­ing the More­ton Bay, Gympie and Fraser Coast Re­gional Coun­cils, to pro­mote greater aware­ness of a WEP for sus­tain­able build­ing out­comes.

A WEP re­quires re­spon­si­bly sourced wood to be con­sid­ered as the firstchoice con­struc­tion ma­te­rial in all new-build and re­fur­bish­ment projects. Such a pol­icy would not man­date the use of wood, but rather re­quire its full con­sid­er­a­tion as a pre­ferred build­ing ma­te­rial when it is equally fit-for­pur­pose.

“We look for­ward to pro­mot­ing a Wood En­cour­age­ment Pol­icy in pub­lic build­ing and hous­ing pro­cure­ment, which can as­sist with the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan. We urge the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment to adopt such a pol­icy as part of the Ac­tion Plan,” Mr Stephens said.

The in­creased use of tim­ber also has the added ben­e­fit of sup­port­ing re­gional in­dus­tries, which di­rectly em­ploy more than 13,000 peo­ple across the State, and 21,000 indi­rect jobs.

EWPAA lab­o­ra­tory man­ager Suzie Steiger mon­i­tors an In­stron ma­chine used for test­ing the bend­ing strength and stiff­ness of ply­wood, par­ti­cle­board and MDF sam­ples at the Ea­gle Farm lab­o­ra­tory in Bris­bane while new re­cruit Troy Ed­wards ad­justs cal­cu­la­tions o

Tim­ber Queens­land Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mick Stephens.

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