What future for sustainable wood?


Versatile and durable, with immense aesthetic appeal and biophilic properties, wood is undoubtedly a favorite of the architecture and design industry. And the growing importance of adapting sustainable practices and products in the construction industry – a contributor of 38% of global CO2 according to the UN – further highlights the incredible potential of this renewable material.

Using wood from a sustainably managed plantation ensures that carbon is captured from the atmosphere during the life cycle of the building. And with 699 kg of CO2 removed and enclosed by every cubic yard of structural pine used, it’s just one of the benefits that has earned wood the status of one of the most sustainable building materials today.

Companies like Timberlink (an Australasian company that transforms sustainable plantation pine into wood products) are committed to helping industry professionals harness the capabilities of this ultimate renewable resource and actively participate in the evolution of the building towards a low-carbon pathway.

NeXTimber is Timberlink’s new brand for their upcoming engineered wood building solutions, made from Australian pine wood sourced from sustainably managed plantations. The range includes a selection of Australian made Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glued Laminated Timber (GLT) panels, both product types created by gluing together strong pieces of radiata pine timber under pressure to produce an extremely solid and taller building. element. CLT can be used for floors, walls, roofs and stairs. GLT is made with pieces of lumber laminated and glued in the same direction, and is often used in structural beams and columns due to its strength. CLT, on the other hand, is created by laying these solid glulam panels in alternating directions. The transverse layout of the panels, combined with digital fabrication, results in a strong, rigid, dimensionally stable and highly accurate construction product that reduces construction time.

The excellent strength and durability of the new solid wood offering comes with incredible sustainability credentials. “When you compare a building that uses CLT and GLT to a building built with conventional building materials, the carbon impact is lower due to the carbon sequestered in the wood. The manufacturing process creates less carbon to manufacture,” says Dr Trevor Innes, GM Technical & Sustainability for Timberlink Australia. The NeXTimber range is made from local certified radiata pine from plantations where every tree used is replanted, providing carbon negative mass timber solutions for building components and providing an opportunity to reduce a project’s embodied carbon .

The innovative range will be manufactured in a brand new purpose-built facility in Tarpeena, South Australia, and is expected to begin production in 2023. Adjacent to Timberlink’s state-of-the-art timber manufacturing facility in Tarpeena, the new development will include a line of combined manufacturing of world-class CLT and GLT softwood – a first of its kind in Australia.

The factory used to manufacture NeXTimber plans to have dual sustainability certification. “Our intention is for products to be dual-certified to FSC® and PEFC standards when they hit the market,” says Trevor. “All of the raw materials we intend to use once the mill is up and running are manufactured by our existing wood manufacturing facility, which holds both of these certifications. As far as I know we are the only Australian manufacturer who will be able to offer this.

This aspiration to help Australian specifiers and builders use locally grown and manufactured solid timber underpins Timberlink’s ambition to equip industry professionals with tools and products that advance the transition to a future more sustainable. That’s why they’re making a significant investment in engineered wood – the quintessential renewable building material of the 21st century. Especially since it is also a timely response to the growing demand for engineered wood, which is expected to accelerate further over the next decade. Currently, it is estimated that approximately half of the CLT used in Australia is imported, so the new NeXTimber manufacturing facility is a significant step in increasing sovereign capacity to manufacture Australian CLT and GLT.


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