TIMBER skyscrapers up to 50 storeys tall may soon dot Australian skylines in a push to decarbonise and revitalise urban construction.

Three separate plans have been submitted to build hybrid timber buildings in Perth and Sydney between 180 m and 220 m.

Each would more than double the height of the current world record-holder, an 86.6-m apartment building in Milwaukee, USA.

Managing director of Grange Development James Dibble, whose proposal for a 47-storey apartment building in Perth is before the state development panel, said hybrid technology put timber on par with concrete and steel.

“There is not really any limitation to height other than the limitation of physics like any other building, to be frank,” Mr Dibble said.

“I think a 350-m hybrid building is possible, which is almost twice the height of the Perth apartment building.”

The 180-m, 40-storey Atlas Sian headquarters in Sydney is already approved for construction this year. Two other planned timber skyscrapers are before state development panels.

Cement and concrete manufacturing is estimated to produce about 8% of the world’s greenhouse emissions, whereas timber naturally sequesters carbon, even after the tree has been cut down.

James Dibble estimates his planned Perth tower, which is marketed as carbon-negative, will cost “about 9%” more than a wholly steel and concrete structure.

“But there’s got to be a recognition that the built environment is one of the three main contributors to climate change,” he said.

“We’ve seen huge evolution in terms of animal agriculture and transport and not very much has been done [in construction].

“And I would remind everyone that you can’t grow concrete. If concrete was a country, it’d be the third highest emitter in the world.”

Besides eco-marketing, timber’s big selling point is its aesthetic value – a natural counterpoint to the sterile greys and whites that dominate urban design.

(With extracts from ABC news)