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Sydney’s ‘Zero-Emission Zones’ should aim high with timber

28 October 2022

The Australian Forest Products Association NSW welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement today of plans to establish ‘zero-emission zones’ in Sydney, which should incorporate low-emission, carbon-storing timber buildings.

AFPA NSW CEO Victor Violante said building with sustainable timber to reduce the use of more energy-intensive building materials was key to achieving this goal.

“NSW has already been leading the way in building with engineered timber, with several impressive examples in Sydney of what is possible such as Lendlease’s Daramu House and International House buildings in Barangaroo,” Mr Violante said.

“Using sustainably-sourced local timber is a great way to decarbonise buildings in the drive towards net zero and a circular economy, and engineered wood products have revolutionised what is possible with wood – the sky is literally the limit.”

The move to zero-emission zones complements the NSW Government’s announcement last year to take into account a development’s carbon footprint under a new green building rating system, and has the potential to position timber as the low-emission building material for the 21st century.

It also follows the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s (CEFC) $300 million Timber Building Program announced in February that is working with developers to turbocharge the uptake of low-emission engineered timber in Australian construction projects.

“CEFC research released last year found that replacing 50 per cent of a building’s traditional steel and concrete materials with engineered timber reduces embodied carbon by 11 per cent. In some cases, it’s possible to replace 60 per cent of steel with engineered wood in new buildings.

“The environmental and economic benefits will be even greater if we source the timber locally. It will not only reduce the ‘carbon miles’ and embodied energy of construction, it will also drive new manufacturing jobs in the regions and support the necessary growth of our existing timber plantation estate, which already replants tens of millions of trees every year in NSW,” Mr Violante concluded.


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