Recently hundreds of leading architects in Australia declared a ‘climate and biodiversity emergency’ and joined architects around the world. The group called Architects Declare Australia has as their goal – ‘to encourage architects to design buildings that are less wasteful, more adaptable and much more environmentally friendly’.

Buildings account for nearly 40 per cent of greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions and the group wants to raise awareness and are calling for the urgent need for action in the built environment, and also among their clients and supply chains. Paarhammer is part of this supply chain, making windows and doors. Right from the start in 1990, Paarhammer had the vision of making energy efficient windows and doors that last a lifetime, made from sustainably grown timber (renewable resource).

In business there is often a choice to be made – do whatever it takes to get an order or stick to your values. We never compromised. Such a choice has recently been explored in an interesting article where a number of well-known architects were interviewed and asked what they would choose - a job or the environment.

Rather than trying to compete on price alone, at Paarhammer we have value added instead and developed ever better products for a wider range of use. For example, rather than compromise on sustainability of input materials, we have taken it one step further and became FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) chain-of-custody certified to ensure that the timber we use is environmentally appropriate and socially beneficial. And instead of wasting precious resources, we employ finger-jointing techniques and laminate pieces of timber together to provide even stronger frames. The sawdust waste product is recycled into wood briquettes and used for heating the manufacturing plant, and so on.

We have also developed windows and doors for catastrophic, events which are becoming more common, like the Bushfire Safe Range which includes products for even the highest bushfire attack level BAL-FZ (Flame Zone). Windows for cyclone areas are the latest development, keeping inhabitants safe and all while increasing energy efficiency and decreasing the need for heating or cooling.

Also, a well-made timber window lasts a lifetime and longer, so there is no wastage of precious resources for short term gains. Responsibly sourced timber ensures that as trees are harvested, new trees are planted, hungrily consuming carbon while they are young. Timber stores carbon even after it is made into products like furniture or windows, and at the end of its life – maybe a hundred or more years from now – it can be recycled or re-used.

It is great to see that the Australian architectural fraternity embraces meeting the needs of our society while protecting the earth and its biodiversity. Congratulations to all signatories and a big thank you from the generations to come.