Timber: The Ultimate Renewable

In an age where climate change and environmental credentials are important community values, Hyne Timber is proud to manufacture products from certified, sustainable, locally grown plantation softwood.

It’s renewable, recyclable, waste efficient, biodegradable, non-toxic and it locks away carbon. Up to 50 per cent of the dry weight of timber is carbon that the growing tree has removed from the atmosphere. Like any good farming practice, once harvested, all trees are replanted so the cycle can commence once again, generating more oxygen while removing more carbon and securing local timber supply into the future.

Embodied carbon emissions in the construction sector account for over 23 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. The production and processing of timber uses much less energy than most other, more carbon intensive building materials such as steel and concrete. As a general rule, if we can replace a cubic metre of concrete with a cubic metre of timber, about a tonne (1000 kilograms) of CO2 emissions will be avoided.

There are many other benefits from using responsibly sourced wood, such as environmental, aesthetic, prefabrication and installation efficiency and durability credentials.

However, one benefit that isn’t spoken of so often, is the health benefits.

Back in 1882, the Japanese Forestry Ministry coined the phrase ‘shinrin-yoku’ which means forest bathing. This was part of a national public health program to promote outdoor, nature-connected activities amongst the trees to lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system and overall feelings of wellbeing.

Last year, Planet Ark Environmental Foundation released a report called ‘Wood: Nature Inspired Design’.

The report highlights local and international research which confirm the health and happiness benefits associated with spending time outside, connected with nature, and explores whether it is possible to gain these same benefits from a ‘biophilic’, nature-connected built environment using natural materials such as timber.

The report details multiple physiological and psychological benefits that have been identified through a range of studies all over the world in regard to timber interiors, including:

  • Improvements to a person’s mental engagement and concentration;
  • Reduced blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels; and
  • Positive emotional state such as happiness, tranquillity, comfort and dopamine levels.

For example, a study of 119 students in timber and non-timber spaces before, during and after they were assigned to a stressful task, exhibited skin measurements which indicated lower stress responses from students in the timber environment. The author of this study concluded that timber produces stress reducing effects and it therefore has a role in nature-connected designs for hospitals, schools, offices and other built environments.

Ask yourself, does the idea of a wooden chalet getaway in the mountains relax you? What about a steel and concrete chalet in the same location?

Indeed, it will come as no surprise that the results of surveyed Australians found that timber elicits feelings of warmth, comfort and relaxation, creating a link to nature.

A 2015 study explored the relationship between office workers’ psychological wellbeing, work environments and employee expectations. For many workers, the design of an office was important in their decision to work at a company. The presence of natural elements including timber fixtures and fittings, plants and views of nature were all identified as important and were found to contribute to greater productivity.

Timber is the only major renewable building material currently available, provided it is replanted! Hyne Timber only sources logs from locally grown, certified plantation softwood forests.While biophilic, nature-connected design including the use of timber is supported by indisputable evidence in regard to the health benefits of occupants, there remains an important environmental consideration. Be certain the timber is certified!

Certification ensures that the timber only comes from legally harvested and well managed forests and plantations.

Our Responsible Wood certification in accordance with Australian Standards provide independent assurance that we are committed to contributing lasting benefits to society by considering the social, environmental, ethical and economic aspects of all that we do.

Hyne Timber also treat the timber for maximum durability and suitability to the application. For example, structural framing in the Fraser Coast region is blue in colour which represents the termite protection. Timber for outdoor, above ground use is green in colour, representing termite and fungal protection.

While timber in construction is nothing new, predating the stone age, modern technology is generating a resurgence of contemporary timber designs using engineered timber such as Hyne Timber’s Glue Laminated Timber (GLT). Today, timber isn’t limited to being either structural and hidden, or aesthetic and displayed, but both. The structure can also become a vital aesthetic component by using biophilic, nature-inspired design.

For more information on Planet Ark’s Make It Wood program and their Nature Inspired Design report, visit https://makeitwood.org/.

For general information on wood solutions, visit https://www.woodsolutions.com.au/.


Image 1: Courtesy of HQPlantations

Image 2: Stella Maris Church

Image 3: University of the Sunshine Coast

Image 4: Colmslie Pool