b'THE BENEFITS OF TIMBERThe emergence of timber and engineered timber products as aTimber building products meet these criteria and are also less energy viable alternative to less environmentally-friendly building materialsintensive to manufacture and use than other building materials. For can be attributed to timbers ability to balance sustainabilityexample, aluminium requires approximately 170 MJ/kg in embodied and performance. Below is an examination of timber under keyenergy (with no carbon sequestered) whereas kiln dried sawn specification and sustainability criteria. hardwood requires 2.0 MJ/kg (with 0.5kg carbon sequestered). 16Research by the Forest & Wood Products Australia found that up Performance and aesthetics to 25 tonnes of carbon per Australian home could be saved by Timber offers a timeless aesthetic that is popular in contemporarychoosing wood where possible. 17Timber is also lightweight and design, with a natural, warm and tactile look that is enhanced byversatile, so it can be transported efficiently and incorporated into a range of hues, textures and grains. Timber structures combinedesigns to be easily recovered, reused and/or recycled. 18this visual appeal with high levels of acoustic, thermal and structural performance.Impact on the environmentForests and timber products provide valuable carbon storage, For example, plantation pine structural timber has a 20% higherabsorbing greenhouse gas and locking it into the wood until it strength to weight ratio than steel and is four to five times strongerrots, decays or burns. 19This has the effect of reducing global than non-reinforced concrete in compression when using the sameemissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. The measure. 13As noted, engineered timber products offer even greaterForestry Corporation reports that the combined net annual carbon levels of structural performance. Some species are rot and termitesequestration of sustainably-managed State forests and the resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions over a longtimber products they produce is equivalent to 230,000 cars being period of time. Timber is also an outstanding insulator and providestaken off the road. 20effective sound control, enhancing thermal and acoustic comfort in built environments.Timber building products have other notable environmental benefits. Timber is highly durable, with some hardwoods offering a service While technically combustible, timber burns in a predictable waylife of over 50 years and requiring minimal energy to maintain. It is that enables designers to create fire resistant timber structures. 14 also highly recyclable, non-toxic and biodegradable, meaning it can Considering the complex fire safety requirements under the Nationalbe broken down into materials that will not harm humans or the Construction Code, designers and specifiers should prefer claddingenvironment. Timber structures are thermally efficient and naturally products that have been adequately fire tested and suppliers whoinsulating, reducing consumption of non-renewable energy. 21can offer expert advice as to the design of code-compliant timberSustainably-sourced timber is renewable and encourages the building systems. growth of managed forests which help with CO2 absorption across the globe and encourage local biodiversity. Embodied energy consumptionTimber products, including mass engineered solutions, haveOccupant health and wellbeinglow levels of embodied energy. Embodied energy refers to theA critical aspect of sustainable design is incorporating measures amount of energy consumed in producing materials for buildingthat improve occupant health and wellbeing. Timber excels in this construction. 15Embodied energy can be lowered by using local,area due to several factors. Timber building products improve natural and renewable materials that are long-lasting and recyclable.indoor air quality by regulating humidity and are considered hypo-allergenic. 22Studies have also shown that there are psychological benefits derived from timbers natural calming appearance. 23In the workplace, employees surrounded by wood have reported increased levels of productivity. 24In general, designers and specifiers should seek building products with low volatile organic compound (VOC) content. Minimising VOC emissions is critical to a healthy indoor environment, which means specifying solutions that are free from or have minimal amounts of glues, resins and/or formaldehydes. Formaldehyde is particularly harmful and found in a range of building products. 25Formaldehyde exposure can result in eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and nausea as well as long-term effects such as cancer and impaired lung function. 26Building materials containing silica can also pose a health risk. Such materials are not dangerous unless they are cut, generating silica dust that may be inhaled into the lungs. Exposure to silica dust increases the risk of lung cancer silicosis, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 27Designers and specifiers should ensure that any products specified for a building project have zero or minimal VOC-content and do not contain silica. Leading timber products made from 100% natural materials fit this description and are safe for construction workers and occupants alike.'