The benefits of using wood
Timber is one of the few natural, renewable building materials. The cyclical process involved in the harvest and regeneration of forests for timber production ensures that timber will continue to be available. Every time a tree is harvested up to ten trees are re-established in its place; the renewable cycle begins again. Being a natural resource, timber is not toxic, and is safe to handle and touch; it also ages naturally and does not break down into environmentally damaging material.
In keeping with their environmental commitments, Hyne Timber’s treatments are all organic, keeping their timber environmentally friendly.
The process of manufacturing timber uses substantially less fossil fuel energy per unit volume than steel, concrete, or aluminium: minimising the amount of pollutants created during the process. This means that building with one cubic meter of wood, in place of other construction materials like concrete, blocks, or bricks, can save up to 1 tonne of CO2 emissions.
FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY (MJ/kg)
FOSSIL FUEL ENERGY (MJ/m3)
Timber is a Greenhouse Positive product with a lower net environmental impact than most other building materials, such as emission-intensive steel, aluminium, or concrete. It’s one of the only building materials that contribute to the long term reduction of carbon emissions: positively addressing climate change.
Carbon is an elemental building block of all living things on earth. As a forest grows the trees absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and store it in their leaves, branches and trunks. Approximately half the dry weight of a living tree is carbon, stored for the life of the tree, and retained throughout the timber manufacturing process.
In 2015 Australia built 115,989 detached houses. If all of those houses were timber framed, it would equal a total of 1,159,890 tonnes of carbon dioxide as the harvested plantations are replanted and begin the cycle of carbon retention all over again.
World studies have shown that being surrounded by wood in your home, work or school has positive effects our health. A recent report commissioned by Planet Ark has found that exposure to wood products and interiors created similar health benefits to those created by spending time in nature. The report also including survey findings that reflected Australians are "innately drawn towards wood".
Some of the reported health benefits include:
- Improved emotional state, and self-expression
- Improved air quality by moderating humidity, encouraging easier breathing
- Feelings of warmth and comfort
- Lower blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels
Australians spend over 90% of their time indoors; bringing nature inside is a positive step to a healthier future, for you and the environment.
Yes, timber is a combustible material but it burns in a slow, predictable and measurable way. These factors mean that timber actually performs strongly in fire events, when compared to other materials.
During the event of a fire, a charcoal layer will be formed on the surface of the timber and this layer will contribute to the fire resistance of the material. The charcoal layer insulates the inner core of the timber and it will slow down the heat penetration, keeping the temperate in the unburned material low and enabling the timber to carry its load much longer than steel. The protective charcoal layer created during a fire will also reduce the overall combustion rate of the timber.
This natural self-defence mechanism increases the possibility for a timber structure to survive a fire while maintaining its strength and stability.
Timber is naturally an insulating material that creates a barrier between heat and cold.
The secret can be found in the many air pockets within the cellular structure of timber products, meaning that light weight timber is a better insulator as thermal conductivity increases with density.
Construction design with a focus on energy efficiency through lightweight timber can greatly contribute to maximising comfort and minimising non renewable energy use. In addition, timber framed buildings can allow for extra insulation materials to be placed in spaces between framing members without increasing wall, ceiling, roof or floor thickness. The natural thermal properties of timber also maximise the efficiency of insulation materials as wood will not become cold or dissipate heat, therefore requiring less energy to maintain warmth throughout a building.
Download the 'House, Health, Humanity' report from Planet Ark to get a more in depth understanding of the health and wellbeing benefits of wooden interiors in homes, businesses, places of learning and places for healing. It also includes the results of an independent survey which identifies the attitudes and opinions of Australians on wood.
Some of the findings include:
- Residents in aged care facilities interact more with each other when surrounded by wood.
- Students in classrooms that feature more wood have lower heart rates and stress responses than students in classrooms featuring plastic and metal.
- Two out of three workers prefer offices with wooden chairs, desks and blinds over the same office with those items made from plastic.