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Planet Ark’s Make It Wood Campaign backs Tasmanian Timber

Planet Ark’s Make It Wood Campaign joined Tasmanian Timber Expert Michael Lee from the Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood (UTAS) to deliver webinar presentations to 21 Australian architectural firms encouraging the use of Tasmanian Timber. Over 80 architects from Melbourne and Sydney attended the sessions that concluded yesterday with some calling the presentations ‘inspirational’.

Photo Credit: John Gollings
Photo Credit: John Gollings

In addition to Lee’s expert technical knowledge on timber and the Tasmanian species, the Make it Wood Campaign Manager, David Rowlinson, presented the benefits of using wood in the built environment as part of the solution to climate change, and the use of biophilic design for improved health and wellbeing.

“The global building and construction sector accounts for 35% of total CO2 emissions and 50% of extracted materials. Wood is the Ultimate Renewable because by using wood from trees that are replanted, we are living on nature’s interest not its capital,” says Rowlinson.

“Timber consumes minimal energy in its production, so it can be used as a low–emission substitute for materials that require larger amounts of fossil fuels to be produced, such as steel and aluminium. And approximately half of the dry weight of wood is biogenic carbon.” 

Photo credit: Adam Gibson
Photo credit: Adam Gibson

The Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not–for–profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live harmoniously with nature. Planet Ark help people, governments and businesses reduce their impact on the environment.

Planet Ark’s objectives are to promote sustainable resource use for a circular economy; to support low carbon lifestyles; and to connect people with nature. To that end, Planet Ark launched the Make it Wood campaign in 2011, which aims to encourage the increased use of responsibly sourced wood as a building material.

David says when sourced responsibly, the benefits that timber brings are vast. Timber is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change,” he says. “It’s renewable – the ultimate renewable, it stores carbon for the life of the building and it has much lower embodied carbon than conventional, more carbon–intensive building materials like concrete and steel.”

Photo credit: Adam Gibson

Certification – what does Planet Ark’s Make It Wood campaign recommend?

David say’s he understands that there is some confusion about certification of forests, particularly around the differences between FSC and Responsible Wood (PEFC).

“Native forestry in Tasmania, and Australia for that matter, generally has Responsible Wood (PEFC) certification, and plantation forestry typically has FSC certification. Both schemes are internationally recognised and certify that the forests are being managed sustainably. Architects simply need to ensure that the wood they source is certified,” says Rowlinson.

“In addition to certification, there is also an independent auditing body in Tasmania, the Forest Practices Authority, that is policing everything that happens in the forests.

 “We’ve looked at this, we understand how the forests are being managed and we strongly believe in Tasmanian forestry.

“The amount of knowledge, training, and passion is tremendous. Their focus is on maximising value recovery and then ensuring 100 per cent of the forest is regenerated.

 “We look forward to other opportunities to work with Tasmanian timber to share this important message – that using wood, will do your world some good.”

 Planet Ark is one of the most trusted authorities on the environment, listed amongst the top five most reputable brands for environmental, sustainable and ethical performance for six years running.