Planet Ark celebrates the West Australian Wood Encouragement Policy*

Article image - Planet Ark celebrates the West Australian Wood Encouragement Policy* Pingelly Recreational and Cultural Centre. Designed by IPH Architects with ATC Studio; Photograph by Peter Bennetts.

In July 2019 Planet Ark’s Make It Wood campaign celebrated the introduction of a Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP) for Western Australia after playing a key role in the policy’s adoption.

The Western Australian state government has now joined Tasmania to become the second state government in Australia to adopt a state-wide WEP.

The Make It Wood campaign aims to encourage the increased use of responsibly sourced wood as a building material.

A key part of this initiative is the promotion and advocacy of WEPs throughout Australia, which encourage the use of responsibly sourced wood in construction.

A WEP generally requires responsibly sourced wood to be considered, where feasible, as a key construction material in all civic new-build and refurbishment projects.

The adoption of similar policies around the world is growing steadily, including Canada, Japan, France, Finland, Netherlands and the United Kingdom, who are all encouraging the use of natural, timber-based products as a sustainable construction material. 

Responsibly sourced, certified wood is the only major building material that helps tackle climate change.

It’s renewable – ‘The Ultimate Renewable’ - it stores carbon for the life of the building, and it has much lower embodied energy than conventional, more carbon-intensive building materials.

As well as the environmental benefits of sustainable timber, the use of wood in the interior of a building has clear physiological and psychological benefits that mimic the effect of spending time outside in nature.

The Pingelly Recreational and Cultural Centre in Western Australia is a great example of the use of wood in civic construction.

The centre, which is Western Australia’s largest timber building constructed since then end of the second world war, is the social and sporting hub of the Shire of Pingelly and the surrounding communities.

Located 200 km south-east of Perth in the Western Australian wheat belt, the building was designed for long term sustainability for a community with scarce resources.

Pingelly is a small town with around 1000 inhabitants which has all the problems of similar areas with ageing population and diminishing employment.

Sport has traditionally been important in both the white and Aboriginal communities.

The new sports centre is a Shire initiative, responding to popular demand.

Four pavilions with a function centre with bar, a sports hall with change rooms, a gym and storage spaces are linked together by a verandah facing east towards the already established sports fields.

The verandah forms a welcoming ‘breezeway’, tempering the hot climate.

All visible surfaces are of prefabricated Eucalyptus wood, locally grown and processed in thick sections to stand the harsh climate.

*Copy supplied by Planet Ark