Sustainable use of timber in our homes. How our homes perform compared with double brick.

WHY WE BUILD WITH WOOD..

Whether building a new home or thinking of doing some renovations/additions to your current home one of the first questions that you’ll come across is do you build with timber, brick or steel? which of these will work best, be the most cost-efficient and most importantly have the lowest environmental impact, at Valmadre Homes we only use timber framed construction for our builds and here’s why;[/vc_column_text]

Wood is a renewable and sustainable resource that cost less to produce than steel and concrete, pound for pound it is just as strong as steel and is extremely durable but without a doubt the greatest benefit we see is that wood construction is environmentally responsible as it stores carbon, wheresas the production of man made materials (steel, brick and concrete) require a huge amount of fossil fuels and harmful emissions.

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Sustainably grown and harvested timber stores carbon during its growth cycle which is better for us and our environment. Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the carbon so efficiently that about half the dry weight of wood is carbon. This carbon remains locked up for the life of the wood even when we use it for building products it is only released when the wood is burnt or rots.

This benefit can also be measured in the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) which allows us to compare various products impact of energy used and waste release during the production of the product. (to find out more visit www.woodsolutions.com.au/articles/life-cycle-analysis)

“Australia’s forest management is among the best in the world in terms of conservation reserves and codes of practice for production forests. Only 6% of Australia’s 147 million hectares of native forests is public forest potentially available for timber harvesting. Timber is harvested from about 1% of these public native forests each year.”   – naturallybetter.com.au

TIMBER FRAMED CONSTRUCTION VS DOUBLE BRICK

When we compare timber construction to double brick (which in WA has been long thought the best form of construction) we see many advantages for timber those being:

Timber framed construction

Timber framed structures don’t suffer from built up residual heat OR Cool that can be associated with a structure with too much thermal mass. Bricks have a high thermal mass which means on a hot summer day it will keep the house nice and cold and warm when it gets cold but will stay warm and require a lot of cooling if the outside temp remains warm, something we will experience here in WA over the summer months.

With timber having a lower thermal mass it can easily obtain very high energy ratings when matched with the right insulation (see fig 3 with an 8-star energy rating) this will allow the home to cool and heat quickly according to outside temperatures. Wood also has good thermal resistance because the fibres are composed of open cells where the air is trapped. This air helps insulate the material, preventing the transfer of heat.

Timber framing is very easy to renovate and is very fast when compared with other traditional building methods which in turn lowers the costs of the build. Brick construction can take significantly longer in the build time due to the time taken to lay the bricks and concrete to cure. They are much heavier and labour costs can be much higher due to this.

It also allows for subtle structural movement and prevents cracking in the surface of internal walls and ceilings. Timber framed wall take up a lot less space as a double layer of masonry creates a thick space that could be better used for floor space and although very solid double brick construction can be vulnerable to crack which may lead to costly repair.

Timber framed constrution for ceiling

Timber has a greater flexibility than brick, therefore, allowing a wider range of design possibilities for your home allowing our design and construct team more freedom to design you your dream home.

It is our passionate belief that the best homes, the most beautiful homes, are the ones that compliment their environment, and we feel obliged to assist our clients with realising this for their own new home or renovation. Our commitment and strongly held beliefs around sustainable building practices, minimising our carbon footprint, delivering cleverly designed solar passive homes, is our commitment to the planet.

If this is helpful for you to make the choice on what product to build your home/renovation please let us know and if you’d like any further information just contact us here and we will be happy to help.

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