Timber is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change. It is naturally renewable and a long-term store of carbon; about half of the dry weight of timber is carbon. In addition, the production and processing of wood uses much less energy – called embodied energy – than most other building materials, giving wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint.
Planet Ark Environmental Foundation’s Make It Wood campaign aims to encourage the increased use of responsibly sourced wood as a building material. A key part of this initiative is working with local councils and state governments throughout Australia in the adoption of Wood Encouragement Policies (WEPs).
Dardanup Shire Council in Western Australia formalised its WEP in December 2016 and is now poised to bring it to life with the development of a new multi-million dollar shire administration and library project. Shire President Mick Bennett confirmed that the building will be developed within the central Eaton Town Square location, right in the middle of town, to be as close to the people of Dardanup as possible, which helps local businesses.
The ground floor, which will open up directly onto Eaton Town Square, will feature a library, meeting rooms, a reception area and spaces for commercial outlets. The second floor will provide much-needed office space, and the third floor will feature council chambers and maker spaces.
“We’re creating a three-storey building, which is relatively unusual in the area, with a mindset that it will last us for some time before we need to do anything else,” Mr. Bennet said.
The building will have a total floor area of over 6,000 square metres and will incorporate timber as the main structural material. “It will be made from wood because we want to lead the way in using our Wood Encouragement Policy,” Mr. Bennett confirmed.
“We want to encourage timber usage because it’s a major industry within our shire. It’s also much better for the environment and we know that there are many health and wellbeing benefits associated with wood construction as well. We want to go that way and council is very keen to make it happen,” he said.
Construction of the new facility is due to start in 2020.