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Sustainable Homes: How Timber Fits The Bill

5 minutes
July 18th, 2017

Passive and sustainable homes aren’t a new concept, yet we’re hearing more and more about home owners making the switch. Why? Because major issues like climate change and ongoing emissions are having an impact on the everyday person.

It is not only the home owner that is taking control, but the Australian Government is too. By introducing the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), which measures your home’s potential energy use on a scale of 1 to 10. New homes now have to comply with the energy efficiency rating of its state or territory and can test this using NatHERS.

What Is A Sustainable House?

A ‘sustainable house’ is a house that is made to a standard of energy efficiency, thus reducing its ecological footprint on the environment. The Australian Government states: “paying attention to the principles of good passive design suitable for your climate effectively ‘locks in’ thermal comfort, low heating and cooling bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions for the life span of your home“.

Not only does an environmentally-based design of a sustainable house utilise the sun for heating and cooling, but it also involves designing with renewable and green materials. This is one of the most important factors to achieve minimal impact on the environment.

What Does It Have To Do With Timber?

Timber is the most sustainable building material available in Australia. It is a renewable, sustainable and environmentally friendly resource that has lower embodied emissions than other building materials such as concrete, aluminium and steel.

Wood Solutions explains that: “Wood offers the builder or designer several environmental advantages over common, alternative building materials“. The main advantages of timber is that:

  • Wood is a renewable resource.
  • Wood products store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Comparatively, the manufacture of wood products requires smaller amounts of energy.
  • Residues generated through the processing of wood can be reused in a variety of positive ways.

What Are Your Options?

Whether you are a home owner, a designer or a builder, you have the choice to build a home at its best. Here’s how you can make a step in the right direction:

Home owners

When building a home, be sure to specify local and sustainable materials or purchase an environmentally friendly prefab home (like ArchiBlox). If you already live in your home, then look to make changes to the appliances and materials used within the space.


Make sure you take a holistic approach when designing your sustainable project. Consult with your builder, architect and suppliers to make sure that you create a healthy building and environment. If you want to fully commit to a sustainable space, then aim to achieve the Green Building Council’s Green Star rating.


Ensure you are building with PEFC certified hardwood timber. Source out local and environmentally friendly options that will contribute to reducing carbon emissions.


In recent years, we’ve seen this era of sustainable designing and building develop by taking a proactive approach, and we can only hope that it continues down this path in the future. To understand more about the sustainability credentials of our hardwood, read our ASH sustainability page.