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$1 million forestry award for building with hi-tech wood

19 March 2014

Greens announce $1 million forestry award for building with hi-tech wood

The Green Party in Government will put $1 million towards the cost of the first 10-storey or higher New Zealand building constructed with structural timber, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

Structural timber is a relatively new construction technique for tall buildings with much of the technology developed here in New Zealand. These laminated timbers can be used as a smart, green alternative to the concrete and steel currently used for the load-bearing elements in high-rise buildings.

“We will create a $1 million award in government to encourage the wider uptake of structural timber in the building sector,” said Dr Norman.

“The Canterbury rebuild presents a unique opportunity to use structural timber as a smarter, greener alternative to concrete and steel.

“The award is part of a bigger package of measures that will ensure forestry is our next high value export sector.

“Our exports of raw logs have surged while the local sawmilling and wood manufacturing industry has lost 4,000 jobs. Under National, we’ve seen a rapid simplification of our export base.

“This is not a smart way to run our economy.

“Rather than sending increasing amounts of low value-added raw logs overseas, the Green Party will encourage new technologies to be developed – such as structural timber – that will add value to our wood production and create good green jobs in New Zealand.”

Green Party forestry spokesperson, Steffan Browning, highlighted the high potential of structural timber buildings to lower carbon emissions and to add value to our log exports.

“Widespread adoption of structural timber in the building industry has the potential to substantially reduce the climate change impact of our building industry,” said Mr Browning.

“Timber buildings effectively become carbon sinks.

“Additionally, we can make our buildings lighter, stronger, and safer in an earthquake. St Elmo Courts is a six-storey structural timber building currently under construction in Christchurch and will be built to 180 per cent of the earthquake building code.

“Forestry can play a central part of a smarter, greener, more resilient economy.”

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