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Carbon stored in wood products needs recognition

8 July 2008
Carbon stored in wood products needs recognition

The proposal to recognise the stored carbon content of wood products in Australia’s Emissions’ Trading Scheme should be adopted in New Zealand, according to NZ Wood’s Geoff Henley.

“The carbon sequestration properties of harvested wood products are not given sufficient recognition as yet in New Zealand’s own Emissions’ Trading Scheme, but this is an important aspect of the sustainable qualities of wood.

“In wooden buildings, for example, the carbon which has originally been absorbed from the atmosphere while the tree was growing can be stored for 50 to 100 years or more.

“At the end of the building’s life the wood can either be re-used, buried in a landfill or burned for energy recovery in lieu of fossil fuel.

“In all three cases the CO2 emissions for disposal of the wood-based materials will be zero or negative.”

If recognised by the ETS, this measure of wood’s long-term carbon abatement qualities should also flow through to other environmental rating systems such as the Green Building Council’s Green Star rating, Geoff Henley says.

This recognition would be advantageous for wood in terms of distinguishing it from other construction materials, and in recognising its important contribution to New Zealand’s sustainable development.


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