– From Stephen Mitchell, sustainability program manager, Timber Development Association –

28 January 2010 – I have just read your article from 21 January on timber – Timber: complex, sustainable and good in bushfires. It was a very good overview of a few complex issues.

For your information, we recently invited the architect of the Stadthaus, the eight-storey residential building in London you mentioned at the end of the article, to speak at the Australian Timber Design Awards.

The architect, Andrew Waugh, estimates that between the emissions avoided by not using steel or concrete, and the fact that wood keeps greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere by storing the carbon absorbed by growing trees, the savings are equivalent to about 300 tonnes of carbon – which is the amount the building is projected to emit over 21 years of operation.

A video of his presentation can be seen on You Tube.

The building was also a quarter of the weight of a comparable concrete building and was built more quickly, speedily and cost effectively than a comparable steel/concrete building. Four carpenters erected nine stories in nine weeks (working only three days a week!) and the entire building process was reduced from 72 weeks to 49. Some more construction details are in an article.