Industry News - Case Study: How Frank Miller Lumber was the Solution for Australia's First Large Scale Carbon-Neutral Community
Industry News - Case Study: How Frank Miller Lumber was the Solution for Australia's First Large Scale Carbon-Neutral Community
Industry News - Case Study: How Frank Miller Lumber was the Solution for Australia's First Large Scale Carbon-Neutral Community


Barangaroo South is a $6 billion waterfront transformation of the central business district in Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. The project includes the construction of three commercial office towers (International Towers Sydney), and two waterfront residential apartments. The space will also feature retail and dining, along with a new landmark hotel. Barangaroo South will become home to around 1,800 residents and 23,000 office workers and, with more than 50% of the precinct open public space and 100% of the foreshore to be fully accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, it is expected to attract some 18 million visitors per year.

The project is Australia’s first large-scale carbon-neutral community, pioneering a new era in sustainable development. The project is Sydney’s largest urban renewal project since the 2000 Olympics, and destined to be as iconic a representation of Sydney as is the Opera House.


Lend Lease was selected in December 2009 as the developer for Barangaroo South by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority on behalf of the land owner, the New South Wales Government. Lend Lease had two significant goals for the project from the outset:

  • Further develop Sydney’s role as Australia’s financial capital
  • Deliver a climate-positive and low-carbon outcome for the whole of Barangaroo

The scope of the 7.5-hectare Barangaroo South project was for a mixed-use precinct with approximately 535,000sqm Gross Floor Area of residential, commercial, retail and leisure. The plan resulted in approximately 143,000sqm of high-rise and low-rise residential space arranged over eight buildings, and approximately 320,000sqm of unique harbourfront office space, predominantly located in three high rise office towers designed by Lord Richard Rogers and his RSH+P architecture practice. The project would also feature up to 28,000sqm of mixed retail & leisure space, and a 77,500sqm hotel.

Considering the massive scale of the project, keeping the outcome climate positive — and thoroughly sustainable — was a challenge. The developers and architects knew one of the most critical components was to select appropriate materials for the walls, fixtures and flooring as early as possible in the design and planning process. They needed beautiful material strong enough to endure high traffic, durable enough to support many years of public use, and sustainable enough to reach their objective of achieving a low-carbon, climate-positive build.

The Frank Miller Solution

The incomparably beautiful premier American hardwoods of Frank Miller Lumber, the world’s leading producer of quartersawn American white and red oak. American oak scores high on the Janka hardness scale, measuring the denting resistance of various wood species. Its hardness makes it a perfect choice for high-traffic residential and commercial applications. The quartersawing process intrinsically improves lumber stability. Unlike plainsawn hardwoods, straight-grained quartersawn hardwoods tend to expand and contract in thickness, not width, virtually eliminating warping, twisting and cupping.

For projects requiring sustainable building material partners, Frank Miller Lumber is the answer. Frank Miller Lumber purchases their logs from a group of loggers with whom they have had relationships for decades in a log procurement radius of approximately 300 miles from the sawmill located in Union City, Indiana. Frank Miller Lumber is the largest producer of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified quartersawn American hardwoods. Projects specifying Frank Miller Lumber FSC-certified products qualify for LEED points.

Frank Miller Lumber’s FSC-certified quartersawn white oak was specified by developers Lend Lease for the commercial spaces, including the interior fixtures, flooring and walls in the hallways and elevator lobbies. Frank Miller Lumber’s Australian distributor, Britton Timbers, has been actively involved in the project from the beginning supplying various species of hardwoods along with Frank Miller’s quartersawn American white oak. Britton Timbers is the largest importer of American hardwoods in Australia.


Construction on the second office tower was completed in 2015, and construction on tower three is underway. When Barangaroo South is completed between 2020 and 2022, it will be one of the greenest residential, leisure and commercial precincts in the world, and will enhance Sydney’s position as one of the world’s most spectacular harbour cities.

For centuries, sustainable American hardwoods have been providing beauty, authenticity, integrity, and lasting aesthetic value to interiors around the world, even in high-traffic environments and regions where the climate experiences more volatile humidity. Frank Miller is fully committed to environmental sustainability and providing architects and designers the hardwoods they need to complete their visions.

Frank Miller Lumber and Britton Timbers are family-owned and world-renowned sawmill operations, both more than a century old. Learn more about the Premier American Hardwoods of Frank Miller Lumber at Learn more about Britton Timbers at

Photography by Alexander Mayes of Sydney, NSW, Australia

Case Study provided by Frank Miller Lumber,


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