“They say there are gaps in timber knowledge. We say we’ve cracked it.”
That’s the message from Timber Unlimited, whose newly launched website has just made the use of timber to reduce climate-changing emissions from the local construction industry a whole lot easier and more accessible.
The construction industry is responsible for between 15 and 20 percent of New Zealand’s total emissions.
“Using more timber in the design and construction of structures will markedly decrease emissions through its ability to displace more carbon-intensive materials and store carbon dioxide within the wood itself”, says Timber Unlimited Director Robert Finch.
“A Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forestry Service study found that if the industry replaced around half of their current use of steel and concrete with timber, it could reduce our national embodied carbon dioxide emissions by half a billion tonnes each year.”
But timber as a primary construction material has some misinformation and preconceptions surrounding it – “It’s too expensive”; “It will never hold up in a fire”; “It’s not structurally sound”…and so on and so forth.
Timber Unlimited is here to arm people with the truth about it. Finch says, “Timber is sustainable, easy to use, highly flexible in its uses and compares more than favourably with other building materials in terms of cost and strength, and that’s before the lower carbon footprint of timber is taken into account…Part of creating the Timber Unlimited website is to build belief in the possibilities of timber.”
As well as being a place to connect and collaborate with other like-minded people in the industry, the website aims to showcase and demonstrate that it can and should be built with timber. Ultimately, to dispel common myths and preconceptions and clarify the unknowns that hold timber back from being used more often by architects, engineers, QS and developers/asset owners.
The website gets to the truth of timber costs, carbon offset, durability, fire safety and the very real benefits of building with timber. For example, they say timber can’t handle the heat. But Timber Unlimited will help you discover how mass timber behaves very predictably during a fire. For those who believe it’s simply too expensive, find out how early estimation of full out-turn costs and offsite manufacturing results in super-fast build times that deliver better returns.
On the website you’ll discover design tools and case studies or get inspired by the best of the best from the Timber Design Awards and other builds from around New Zealand.