Timber Design Centre to create future where timber construction leads the way

The new Timber Design Centre website is showcased by Te Uru Rakau New Zealand Forest Service programme delivery forest science lead Emily Telfer.

Envisioning a future where timber is used more widely in mid to high rise buildings and contributes to carbon neutral targets, is an exciting opportunity in building design. The tools to make this a reality are now coming together with the Timber Design Centre, launched in March.

The Centre’s work programme will be co-designed with a wide range of people involved in the building construction process including developers, designers, council planners and consenters, architects, engineers, builders, building owners, students and researchers.

The Centre is an initiative between Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forest Service and a consortium comprising Scion, the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA), New Zealand Timber Design Society and BRANZ.

The consortium explains that greater use of timber in construction provides an opportunity for the sector to support the Government’s commitment to be carbonneutral by 2050, whilst realising the broader economic and wellbeing benefits of including wood products in multi-storied buildings.

Scion sustainability architect Andrea Stocchero says New Zealand’s built environment accounts for about 20 percent of the country’s carbon footprint due to the emission of greenhouse gasses over the full life cycle of buildings. This includes embodied emissions of building materials and products.

“New Zealand can maximise the use of sustainably sourced, locally grown and manufactured wood products,” he explains.

Timber Design Society president Dr Daniel Moroder says the time is right for New Zealand to have a dedicated timber knowledge centre which provides advice and guidance on timber construction.

“Over recent years, the interest in engineered timber construction has increased significantly and we need to ensure that clients, designers, contractors and authorities have all the information they need to build efficiently in timber,” he says.

WPMA chief executive Stephen Macaulay believes technological advancements in wood manufacturing provide an opportunity to accelerate the use of engineered mass timber products which can be showcased through the Timber Design Centre.

“Greater use of locally harvested timber products in apartments and offices not only significantly reduce the carbon footprint of these building structures, it also offers the natural characteristic of comfort and warmth to occupants that are rarely found in other building materials.”

BRANZ General Manager of Research Dr Chris Litten says the development of the centre has been a true collaboration between Government, industry and the research community.

“BRANZ is proud to support the work of the Timber Design Centre in providing evidence-based information for low-emissions construction.”

The Government is funding the Timber Design Centre as part of its Fit for a Better World roadmap and is one of several key initiatives underway this year to help transform the forest and wood processing sector.

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