Friday Offcuts 15 October 2021
As well as news updates, we’ve also built in a couple of videos into this week’s issue. The first supports and follows on from the announcement made last week on the establishment of the Timber Framing Collective to market framing timber across Australia. And the second video, sent in by one of our readers earlier in the week, looks at a new initiative in the UK aimed at trying to address the major issue that they (and the rest of us) have, how to fix the dire shortage of log transport drivers.
In timber construction this week, more tall wooden buildings are making headlines. One of the world’s tallest timber towers, standing 75 metres tall and featuring a structure made entirely out of timber has just been opened in Sweden. The 20-storey hotel is made from prefabricated 3D-modules in cross laminated timber. Another part of the building uses a timber frame with columns and beams made out of glue laminated timber, along with cores and shear walls in CLT. Melbourne’s also going to be boasting another large timber project. Sumitomo Forestry is hoping to start construction on the tallest wooden office building in the city in December this year. Completion, Covid willing, is set down for August 2023.
For new technologies in building and construction, we’ve featured work that’s being undertaken on house building using 3D printing in recent issues. Most of the work has been lab or trial based. Well, not anymore. This time a collection of 900 to 2,000 square foot homes have been put onto the market for the first time in the US. All have been made with a 3D printer, each taking five to seven days to complete. From the associated slide show, the homes at first glance look impressive. So, from lab to commercial reality in just a year or two – don’t discount this new system and the speed at which these homes are being constructed.
And finally, the decision to postpone the 6th Annual WoodWorks Conference scheduled to run in Rotorua, New Zealand in just two weeks’ time to Wednesday 2 March 2022 was made this week. Ongoing Covid issues have meant that it was going to be increasingly difficult to provide an environment that was safe to those who could still attend the planned conference, field tours and workshops under current restrictions. Numbers had grown strongly this year with registrations up at least 50 percent. Face to face meetings rather than another virtual event was the much-preferred option for all those that had registered. Further details and updates are being provided through the event website. And that’s it for this week.
This week we have for you:
Carbon farming land will lose moneyA stark report on the future of carbon farming on the East Coast has concluded land planted in pine trees for carbon will be losing money in 100 years, leaving behind potentially unsellable land covered in ageing pine. Even in the short-term, planting land in pine that’s never intended to be harvested could harm the region’s employment if it replaces forestry or farming, according to the BDO report on carbon farming in Tairāwhiti/the East Coast.
But Ngāti Porou Holdings, which owns some 25,000 hectares of forestry land in the region, says the report has gaps – and should have considered the iwi’s perspective. Ngāti Porou Holdings chief executive Shayne Walker says it’s hard for those who don’t own land on the East Coast to understand how tough land use decisions can be on steep and difficult terrain, which is not suitable for pastoral farming.
The report by BDO Gisborne proved so controversial in Tairāwhiti that some local business leaders argued against making it public. It concluded that, after an initial boom in carbon profits, land in left in pine trees could end up unable to cover its own rates bills. It recommended regulation of anyone planning to keep large areas of land in pines past their typical harvest age.
As carbon prices soar, the region around Gisborne has found itself at the centre of a debate over the future of carbon farming – and how much planting trees can address the climate crisis. According to the report, 83 per cent of grassland in the region is between land classes 6 and 8 – the least productive and arable classes, and the most attractive for carbon farming. Around half of the region’s pine plantations could also potentially be converted to permanent carbon farming, if landowners wanted to do that, and the carbon price was right, the report suggested.
Tairāwhiti’s huge areas of steep, remote whenua (land) are often difficult to profit from, making the land cheaper and more likely to be snapped up for permanent forests, as polluters seek carbon credits to mop their greenhouse gas emissions, and carbon farming companies seek to profit from spiking carbon prices.
Meanwhile, poorly managed plantation forestry – where pine trees are harvested for logs – caused devastating effects on Tairāwhiti’s rivers and beaches when leftover wood slash washed downhill during heavy rain. The region needs employment, but some locals fear that permanent carbon farming will outcompete the two major industries – production forestry and livestock farming. Against this background, Trust Tairāwhiti, the region’s economic development agency, paid for an independent report by BDO Gisborne. Various local forestry, economic development and farming groups supplied input or submissions during drafting.
According to the latest report, discussions about the need for an independent view arose after two previous reports by (one commissioned by Beef + Lamb and completed by consultancy BakerAg, and one commissioned by the Government’s planting agency Te Uru Rakau and completed by accounting firm PWC) suggested employment provided by permanent pine forests was low.
Almost all the employment from carbon forestry was during the first year, when the trees were planted, said BDO. Production forestry and livestock farming in the region each employed more people per hectare, at higher wages, it said. Yet rising carbon prices – needed to get the country’s net emissions down – meant the average East Coast forests could earn more from staying permanently in pine trees than from selling logs, the report concluded.
Smart Carbon Farming won’t go up in flamesCarbon-farming is a vital climate resilience tool, and highlighting the risks in the highest risk areas is scaremongering, Ekos chief executive Dr Sean Weaver says. Dr Weaver was responding to a report claiming land planted for carbon farming will be losing money in 100 years, leaving behind potentially unsellable land covered in ageing pine, impacting on employment, forestry and farming.
Ekos is a leader in native carbon forestry. It grows and protects native forests, and where economically necessary uses exotic woodlots to fund the native forest element – because native carbon forestry on its own is very challenging financially. When using exotics, Ekos actively transitions the exotic forest to native forest through systematic small-scale harvest and replacement over several decades.
“This approach is commercially viable and can be retrofitted into any permanent pine forestry operations. Then in the long-term native timbers can be sustainably managed to create a permanent revenue stream,” Weaver said.
“Some have suggested that carbon farms across the country will all burn down, making it a waste of time and money. This doesn’t stack up with the NIWA and Ministry for the Environment climate projections which show many parts of New Zealand will actually get wetter,” Weaver says.
“Some regions, particularly eastern Hawkes Bay and parts of the Gisborne district are going to get hotter and dryer in coming decades, but further west and south annual rainfall will likely increase. But even on the East Coast, forestry can have a valuable role to play in the region’s economy, particularly if managed sustainably and in partnership with local communities.”
Forest insurance premiums would rise in areas of higher risk, steering some forestry activities towards lower risk regions, and lower risk forest types in dryer regions, he says.
“Native forest is far less fire prone than exotic plantations, making native reforestation of erosion-prone catchments and waterways a better option to protect biodiversity and deal with extreme weather events now and in the future”.
“We work with farmers to convert steep lands unsuitable for agriculture to restorative carbon farming,” Weaver said. “Some East Coast rivers have among the highest sedimentation rates on the planet, because the erosion lands upstream simply cannot cope with pastoralism.”
The way forward was a necessary balance of science, economics, local knowledge and working together, Weaver says.
Key settings for post-1989 forests in ETS announcedThe Climate Change (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Act 2020 introduced significant policy changes to forestry in New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that will take effect on 1 January 2023. The Forestry Regulations are now being amended to provide the detailed rules for how these policies will work in practice.
In September, Cabinet agreed to the direction for several major proposed amendments to the Forestry Regulations, in particular the mechanics for how averaging accounting will work in practice.
Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service has recently published basic rules for averaging accounting, including the average ages of different types of forest, on the MPI website. Decision documents and other supporting information will be published soon and more information will be summarised over time.
As well as the workings for averaging accounting, Cabinet also agreed to:
• the definition of temporary adverse events to implement the new exemption from paying carbon liabilities after events that damage and clear the forest (for example, fires or storms)
• how the penalty for clear-felling a permanent forest will be set
• policies for applying the field measurement approach (FMA).
The new regulations are now being drafted and will be finalised and published by 1 October 2022.
Understanding accounting options
Forestry ETS participants and potential participants need to understand the accounting options for forests in the ETS from 1 January 2023
Forest registered in the ETS before 2019 must stay on stock change and cannot transition to averaging accounting. If the forest is harvested, it surrenders following the rules for stock change accounting. The forest owner can choose to transition to the permanent forest activity from 2023. If they don’t transition, they will keep earning units on the stock change approach.
Forest registered in the ETS from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2022 is on the stock change approach when registered (as it is the only option). The forest owner can choose to transition to averaging accounting before 30 June 2023. They can also choose to transition to permanent forestry at any time after 2023. If they don’t transition to either of these approaches, the they will keep earning units on the stock change approach.
Forest registered in the ETS from 2023 onwards will be registered into either on the averaging accounting approach or as permanent forestry. With averaging accounting, the forest owner can choose to transition to the permanent forest activity. Those forests earn units the on the stock change approach from the time they move to permanent forest.
Over the next couple of months Ministers will be making decisions relating to other regulations and settings, including a suite of minor and technical decisions. These will be announced as they are made.
Source: Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service
Timber Framing: The Ultimate Renewable™In last week’s issue we covered the launching of The Timber Framing Collective - a new grouping set up to market timber framing in Australia. Find out more on the new website www.timberframingcollective.com.au or check out the video below that’s just been produced.
Comment on NZ’s First Emissions Reduction PlanThe Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced on Wednesday.
The Emissions Reduction Plan will set the direction for climate action through to 2035. It will set out action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across a range of areas, including energy, transport, waste, agriculture, construction and financial services.
Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw said the discussion document released is not a draft of the Emissions Reduction Plan. Rather it is an opportunity to hear feedback on what should be included in the plan the Government will publish next year.
“Since the final advice of the independent Climate Change Commission was published in June, conversations have been underway across Government about how Ministers and agencies can support emissions reductions in their portfolios - and what can be included in the final Emissions Reduction Plan,” James Shaw said.
“Some of the ideas that have come from these conversations form the basis of the consultation document we are releasing today, and are inviting feedback on. Other ideas have already been consulted on – either through previous policy development, or the Climate Change Commission’s consultation – and are not included this consultation.
The discussion document Te hau mārohi ki anamata - Transitioning to a low- emissions and climate-resilient future was released on the Ministry for the Environment website on Wednesday and can be downloaded here.
Consultation on the emissions reduction plan is open until 11.59pm, 24 November 2021.
DroneSeed raises US$36 millionDroneSeed has announced it has raised US$36 million in its Series A funding round. The round was led by Social Capital and Seven Seven Six, with participation from new and existing investors. Part of these funds were used to acquire Silvaseed, a 130-year-old forestry company, to expand DroneSeed’s seed collection and seedling cultivation services.
A pioneer in climate tech and post-wildfire reforestation, DroneSeed is the only company approved by the FAA to deploy a fleet of heavy-lift drones to reforest after wildfires, enabling healthy forests to grow back. This year, wildfires across the U.S. have already burned nearly six million acres of land, demonstrating the growing need for a full suite of vertically integrated reforestation services like those DroneSeed offers.
DroneSeed can drop seed vessels within 30 days after a fire, compared to traditional methods which can take years of waiting to replant. After it reforests burned land, DroneSeed sells the resulting carbon credits to organizations looking to go carbon neutral or negative.
“Global reforestation is key to our fight against climate change,” said Jay Zaveri, a partner at Social Capital. “We’ve supported DroneSeed from the very beginning given its promise to terraform our planet for good. Since then, DroneSeed has scaled its effort to reforest land, found a profitable model through carbon markets, and transformed the experience of forest development for landowners.”
“DroneSeed is using technology to restore forests faster and help save our planet. Their team’s mission-driven approach is what made this investment and partnership a natural fit for Seven Seven Six,” said Katelin Holloway, Founding Partner at Seven Seven Six who is joining the board as an observer. “DroneSeed has recruited fantastic talent from diverse communities and disciplines, and we are thrilled to support them as they take on an incredibly important global challenge: climate change.”
Hyne’s AU$14.5 m CT Drying Kiln celebratedHyne Timber’s much anticipated, new Continuous Drying Kiln (CDK) has commenced operations, a milestone marked with an official ribbon cutting event held on Friday. Since the initial announcement in March 2021, around 60 additional team members have been recruited to assist with scaling up the Tuan Mill with an added 20% capacity over the next few months.
Hyne Timber CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said Hyne had invested significantly over its 139-year history and this latest milestone is yet another chapter for the history book. “We are currently experiencing significant demand for our products so this AU$14.5 million investment for expansion is timely and can bring the construction sector some comfort as we ramp up production over the next few months.
“The CDK not only delivers efficiency for the Tuan Mill in addressing the timber drying bottleneck, but it will also improve the consistency of drying quality and overall quality of our timber in addition to delivering energy efficiency.
“We have had dedicated teams working on this highly specialised project for months and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge them. They include several Tuan Mill team members led by David Spencer and Paul Ryan supported by contractors including Civil Mining and Construction, Wolff Power, Brisbane Electrical, Platinum Fire, Windsor and representatives of The University of Queensland, Centre for Future Timber Structures and ARC Future Timber Hub. I hope they all feel very proud of this achievement as part of our history and for our future.”
“Scaling up our expansion project is paralleled with us working collaboratively with our suppliers including HQ Plantations, Richers Transport and Log Management Solutions, creating more jobs for the region. “I would like to thank the Queensland Government, Bruce Saunders and the team at State Development and the Fraser Coast Regional Council for their ongoing support for growth, jobs and expansion in our region.” Mr Kleinschmidt said.
To officially mark the CDK as operating, CEO Jon Kleinschmidt was joined by Member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders, Fraser Coast Deputy Mayor, Darren Everard, Hyne family members, Chris Hyne and Kelly Hyne, Hyne team members David Spencer, Paul Ryan and two of the newest recruits to join the team as part of the expansion, Giaan Muller and Abby Zipf in cutting the ribbon.
The event coincided with the 35-year anniversary of the original installation of Kilns at the Tuan Mill. The Tuan Mill now employs around 300 people and is one of Australia’s largest suppliers of softwood framing. To take a Tuan Mill tour or learn more about the company and its products, visit: www.hyne.com.au
Source: Hyne Timber
Timber Haulage Academy to address driver shortagesAll sectors of the haulage industry currently require drivers, and the forestry sector is no different. What is different, is the challenge of in-forest driving and hydraulic crane loading in some of the most beautiful and remote locations in the UK. A new initiative has just been set up in the UK.
If you enjoy driving and would like to play a key role in forestry’s contribution to a recovering economy and combatting climate change, then this may be the next career for you? A free course funded by the Scottish Government National Training Transition fund has been set up to help those looking to a career in log transport or haulage make that choice!
As part of the promotions, here is what current forest industry workers think.
Adele Farina joins FIFWAAdele Farina has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (Acting) for the Forest Industries Federation WA (FIFWA), commencing October 11, 2021. The appointment comes as current FIFWA Executive Director Melissa Haslam begins maternity leave from October 8, 2021.
A qualified solicitor, Ms Farina joins FIFWA after an extensive career in politics as the Labor Party member for the South West region from 2001-2021. During that time, she served as parliamentary secretary to three different ministers and chaired several significant committees, including the statutory review of the Forest Products Act.
Ms Farina also worked closely with regional communities and industry through the 2001 decision to end old growth logging in WA. FIFWA Chair Ian Telfer welcomed Ms Farina and said her appointment marked the beginning of a significant chapter in the industry. “Adele’s knowledge and skillset will be a great asset for industry, and we are pleased to have her join us,” Mr Telfer said.
Ms Farina said she looked forward to the new role and being part of WA’s sustainable and renewable forestry industry. “I truly believe in the sustainability of this industry, one which employs more than 6000 people, predominantly in regional communities,” Ms Farina said.
“There is no doubt that I begin this role at a challenging time, but I am keen to focus on the future, and intend on drawing on my experience and knowledge to work with industry and government to ensure that the future is a strong one.”
Source: Forest Industries Federation WA (FIFWA)
New name for Australian forestry associationsThe Institute of Foresters of Australia & Australian Forest Growers has changed its name to Forestry Australia. Forestry Australia CEO Jacquie Martin said the new name better represented the broad scope of forest and land management work undertaken by its members.
“The name Forestry Australia is more representative of our membership, which is made up of Australian scientists, professionals and growers who manage, study and care for our forests,” Ms Martin said. “The interactions that humans have with forests are changing every day, and the way our members manage forests is always evolving, alongside the most up-to-date science and research.
“That’s why it’s important our identity keeps pace with these changes in approach, and the public understands what Forestry Australia members do and what they stand for. Our skilled and knowledgeable scientists, professionals and growers who manage, study and care for our forests offer nature-based solutions for some of society’s most significant challenges, including catastrophic bushfires, biodiversity decline and climate change.
“We consulted widely with our members and the general public in arriving at this name, and we’re very proud to be able to announce it at our national conference with so many of our members and other forestry stakeholders in attendance both in person and online.”
First one house – now an entire streetThis is East 17th Street, a collection of homes that range in size and style. It’s got beautiful construction, lovely walkways and landscaping. But what truly makes this Austin, Texas project unique is that these are the first 3D-printed homes for sale in America. Yes, you read that correctly. These homes were all made with a 3D printer.
The homes range in size from 900 to 2,000 square feet in two and four-bedroom designs. All the houses have covered front porches, covered parking and a modern interior design. The rooms are big and open, the master bedrooms have vaulted ceilings, and the windows are large to let in plenty of light.
Wood cabinets, woven rugs and little touches of greenery add pops of colour to the neutral palette of the homes. A highly modern and uncluttered design creates a free-flowing, elegant look inside and out.
Designed by Logan Architecture, the collection includes four houses total. Each home is solid, sturdy, safe and move-in ready. Their 3D-printed construction is proof that the future is now.
The 3D printing for each home is thanks to Texas construction company ICON, which used its Vulcan building system. Through this process, 3D printing robotics layer cement onto striated surfaces. According to ICON, this system creates a tough, highly weather-resistant design.
The 3D printing technology “provides safer, more resilient homes that are designed to withstand fire, flood, wind, and other natural disasters better than conventionally built homes and that can be built in a matter of weeks,” the company said in a statement.
Printing the homes took five to seven days and was complete in March 2021. According to ICON, the East 17th Street Residences “are the first 3D-printed homes for sale in the US and ready for move-in.”
New 75m building among the tallest timber towersSara Cultural Centre (Sara Kulturhus), a state-of-the-art cultural venue and hotel in Skellefteå, Sweden, has opened its doors to the public for the very first time. Designed by Swedish architecture studio White Arkitekter, the new building stands 75 metres tall and features a structure made entirely of timber. An international showcase for sustainable design and construction, the venue is also one of the world’s tallest timber towers.
Named after 20th century Swedish literary icon Sara Lidman, Sara Cultural Centre houses the Skellefteå Art Gallery, Museum Anna Nordlander, Västerbotten Regional Theatre, and the new City Library, alongside The Wood Hotel, restaurants, spa and conference centre. The building references the timber building heritage of the region with Skellefteå having a long tradition of wooden buildings as well as a flourishing timber industry.
"One of the biggest challenges of the project was convincing people to build something that hadn't been built before. But with the will and ambition to break new ground in wood architecture and sustainable construction, we have now realised the project with a full timber structure," White Arkitekter lead architects Robert Schmitz and Oskar Norelius said.
The mixed-use programme called for a range of innovative solutions in mass timber construction. In collaboration with structural engineering company Florian Kosche, two different construction systems were developed for the project – one for the cultural centre and another for the hotel.
While the 20-storey hotel is made from prefabricated 3D-modules in cross laminated timber (CLT) stacked between two CLT elevator cores, the lower rise cultural centre consists of a timber frame with columns and beams made of glue laminated timber (GLT), along with cores and shear walls in CLT.
The characteristic trusses above the grand foyers are composed of a GLT and steel hybrid that enables a flexible, open-plan space that can adapt to different uses over time. The glass façade wrapping the building reveals the spectacular exposed timber-framed ceiling, which is a recurring motif throughout the venue.
The project represents an important milestone for White Arkitekter who envision that all of their architecture will be carbon neutral or better by 2030; timber construction is an important element in the studio’s transition to net zero. All the wood is sourced locally from the region’s coniferous forests.
“Sara Cultural Centre is realised with timber as a massive, structural material, not just a surface layer on top for show. It's solid, warm, and human and you can feel it. Solid columns, beams, slabs, and walls shape the rooms and give them their own unique expression,” the architects explained.
NW Jolly Medal recipients announcedThe final day of this week’s Forestry Australia (formerly IFA/AFG) conference also saw the presentation of Forestry Australia’s highest and most prestigious honour for outstanding service to Australia’s forestry profession, the NW Jolly Medal. Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon paid tribute to this year’s NW Jolly recipients, Gary Morgan AM AFSM and Dr Jerry Leech
“Named in honour of Norman William Jolly, who made an outstanding and pioneering contribution to the development of professional forestry in Australia in the first half of the 20th century, the NW Jolly Medal recognises the highest level of service to our profession in Australia,” Mr Gordon said.
“On behalf of Forestry Australia, I would like to acknowledge Dr Jerry Leech and Gary Morgan AM AFSM in continuing in Jolly’s footsteps and making their own outstanding contributions to the profession.
“Dr Jerry Leech has contributed to the foundation of the modern Australian plantation industry through his contributions to the measurement of forests, the design of yield regulation systems, development of innovative models of plantation growth and yield, development of the Australian Standard for valuation of forests and mentoring and training of resource modelling and planning staff in Australia and internationally.
“Over a period of more than 40 years, Gary Morgan has made many significant contributions to the management of forests and forest fires at the state, national and international levels, through his distinguished and outstanding work as a forester, fire manager and fire science leader.
Mr Gordon also congratulated Tegan Brown, who was awarded the Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry. “I would like to congratulate Tegan Brown for winning this year’s Prince of Wales Award, which recognises and promotes engagement in and dedication to, the principles of sustainable forest management including policy, planning and practice, sound science-based land stewardship,” he said.
“Through demonstrating excellence across academic pursuits, employment and voluntary extracurricular work within forestry, Tegan has shown she is a worthy recipient who will no doubt go on to achieve great things for the future of our forests.”
Photo: L-R: Gary Morgan and Dr Jerry Leech
Source: Forestry Australia
Tallest wooden office planned for MelbourneSumitomo Forestry has announced that they will start efforts to construct a net zero carbon building as a step toward the realization of a carbon-free society. The foothold for this project is a large-scale wooden office in Collingwood, which is in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
The building will be a mixed structure of reinforced concrete and timber with two basement floors and 15 stories above (all floors above the 6th floor to be made of wood), and this project is expected to be the tallest wooden office in Melbourne, Australia. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 2021 for completion in August 2023.
Net zero carbon buildings are designed to save and create energy, and in combination with the use of renewable energy together with offsets from carbon credits, emit net zero CO2 (operational carbon) when the buildings are in use. In addition to achieving Australia's highest 6 Star Green Star environmental certification, they aim to obtain net zero carbon certification based on Australia's "Carbon Neutral Standard for Buildings."
In this project, about 4,000m3 of wood will be used for the structural frame, fixing in place about 3,000 tons of carbon (CO2). Including biogenic carbon storage, CO2 (embodied carbon) emitted during construction (in processes such as raw material procurement, manufacturing, construction, and demolition) will be equal to a reduction of approximately 40% compared to when the entire structure is built using reinforced concrete.
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... the old gear box
Two Men were out hunting in the outback and came upon a huge hole in the ground. They approached it and were amazed at its size and depth.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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