Unfortunately when choosing to use a hardwood in their home, most people are not aware of the environmental issues associated with that choice. Although any tree that is cut down for timber can be replaced with another newly planted tree, most Australian hardwoods are slow growing and a lot of the timber that you may get from a timber yard could be from a tree 50 years old. There has been so much logging of old growth forests carried out in Australia over the years that we really are getting to the point where we should think about stopping.
Making the right sustainable choice for hardwood IS hard. As a minimum, if you are obtaining new timber, look for timber that has some from of chain of custody accreditation, such as FSC.
OR do what we do.
We only used reclaimed or recycled timbers.
The image above is of some Red Ironbark stair treads that were salvaged from a warehouse in Sydney.
Below are some recycled Bluegum posts and beams being used for some external pergolas and verandas.
Not only is reclaimed and recycled timber a very sustainable choice, it is also a much better timber. Newly logged timber is high in moisture and therefore very unstable. To reduce the moisture content in the timber, it is force dried in kilns to dry out and reduce the moisture content down to a stable level. The problem with such forced drying is that the timber is still prone to warping, cupping and twisting as it re-adjusts to it's new environment.
With recycled or reclaimed timber, because it is so old, it has dried out naturally and is a very stable timber.
Below is some more recycled Bluegum which has been used as feature wall cladding at the entry to the house.
Below is another progress photo of the front, or North of the house.
Keeping cool in summer is critical to a well designed green building, particularly when looking to avoid air conditioning.
To achieve this, cross ventilation and ventilation control is the key.
We find that louvre windows such as the one above below are the best way to achieve fine control over the amount of ventilation required.
Louvre windows are the only windows that allow you to open a window a full 100% for maximum cross ventilation of to feather that back to a fine opening of only 2% to ensure fresh air supply.
They look good, provide uninterrupted vision because there are no framing members and are very secure.
The old loose and rattly louvres of the 50's are a thing of the past. The louvres currently available seal so well that they are cyclone rated.