Australia aims to cut construction-related greenhouse gas emissions by making $212m (A$300m) available in debt financing to encourage the use of mass timber on big construction projects.
The money comes from state investor, the Clean Finance Investment Corporation (CEFC), which calculated that using engineered wood could cut buildings’ embodied carbon by up to 75% compared to the use of conventional steel and concrete.
CEFC wants developers building commercial offices, retail, industrial, healthcare, residential and education schemes to apply for the cash.
“Innovations in engineered wood products have created new opportunities for mass timber construction to be used in larger projects, creating the potential for immediate and long-term environmental benefits,” said CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth.
Eligible projects will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may include those which:
- Use low carbon engineered wood products in large-scale construction;
- Have secured appropriate materials source, accreditation and embodied carbon outcomes;
- Require $20m-$75m in CEFC debt finance;
- Are commercially sound, reflecting the rigorous investment requirements of the CEFC;
- Comply with the CEFC Investment Policies, Guidelines and Risk Approach.
Embodied carbon produces some 28% of emissions in building and construction globally, largely from the production and delivery of building materials. It is expected to account for almost half the emissions of new construction by 2050.
CEFC Director of Property Investment Ryan Rathborne said: “The time is right for the development of more timber buildings across the property sector. By locking in mass timber construction in new projects, we can also help develop local skills and experience, supply chains and delivery capabilities, all of which can catalyse more timber-based building activity into the future.