Dunedin pushes for wood houses
Mon, 10 Sep 2012 6:34p.m.
By Dave Goosselink
Builders and homeowners are being encouraged to use their heart when it comes to construction, and reconnect with timber.
New Zealand has an abundance of forestry resources, but competition from products like steel and concrete are damaging its roots.
While there's plenty of construction going on, timber builds have fallen out of favour with issues like leaky homes and competition from imported building materials.
Now the industry's keen to drive home a message, encouraging people to rediscover the benefits of wood.
It's one being backed by former TV DIYer-turned Mayor of Dunedin, Dave Cull.
“The recent Canterbury earthquakes probably highlighted the fact that in an earthquake-prone country, timber is a very, very good building medium,” says Mr Cull.
Wood is expected to play a growing role in the rebuild of Christchurch, and there's no shortage of timber. After years of deforestation in favour of dairying, New Zealand has more than 1.7 millon hectares of forest.
A Douglas-fir plantation near Dunedin is owned by local ratepayers through the council, earning an annual dividend through sustainable harvesting.
“Wood is New Zealand's, in fact the world's, oldest building material,” says City Forests chief executive Grant Dodson. “It's a fantastic renewable resource. The forest stores carbon when it grows, and it's so versatile.”
It is our third-largest export earner, contributing more than $4.3 billion a year to the economy. The Government is keen to see that grow, away from raw logs to higher-value processed wood products.
“The Government has invested $100 million in exploring further processing opportunities, and with about a 40 percent increase in the possibilities for harvest in the next 10 years, that's going to be extremely important,” says National MP Michael Woodhouse.
It’s an industry that's got plenty of room to grow.
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10/09/2012 9:36:48 p.m.
Times change and better products become available.
Cutting trees into framing timber yields are low, it has to be chemically treated so it won't rot, it can't be recycled and is an ecological nightmare to dispose of construction waste or after demolition. (where is all that treated demolition timber from Christchurch going? buried to leach into the water supply? burn it??)
No wonder products like steel framing are becoming so popular, lighter, stronger, hypoallergenic, recyclable, all that and 100% NZ made.
10/09/2012 8:04:39 p.m.
Why would it cost $100mil to investigate processing opportunites? Seem s bit excessive and should the industry be doing the investigating?
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