Mass Timber can be a great option for construction – if it’s sourced sustainably
FSC, May 10, 2022
Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada
New, updated 2022 Edition FP Innovations. Free download. “The definitive guide for the mass timber design and construction of tall buildings has been updated to align with changes to national codes and standards. It builds on 12-storey mass timber gravity systems as an Acceptable Solution in the 2020 edition of the National Building Code, and targets supporting Alternative Solutions that will enable wood to be used beyond 12 storeys”
The Dezeen guide to mass timber in architecture
Tom Ravenscroft for dezeen.com. Nov 12, 2021 “Thinking of using engineered timber in your project? Our latest Dezeen guide includes the most regularly used types of mass timber including CLT, glulam and dowel-laminated timber.”
Wood Utilization and Technology
NS Woodlot Management Home Study Course Module 8 “This module is dedicated to the wise utilization of wood through an understanding of its structure and properties. ”
How to Bend Wood
Eduardo Souza in archdaily.com Aug 3, 2020 “From its starting to point as a tree to its product form as a beam or piece of furniture, wood used in architecture and interior design goes through several stages and processes. A renewable resource and popular traditional building material, wood is also often cited as a promising construction material of the future, one that is suitable for the new demands of sustainability. But unlike concrete, whose molds can create even the most complex curves, wooden architecture most commonly uses straight beams and panels. In this article, we will cover some techniques that allow for the creation of curved pieces of wood at different scales, some of which are handmade and others of which seek to make the process more efficient and intelligent at a larger scale.
The Material Revolutionizing the Construction Industry? Wood
By J.Keats in Discover Magazine May 13, 2020 “Architects and engineers are working on ways to swap steel and glass for strong, sustainable wood-based materials.”
Buildings: The decarbonisation elephant in the room
April 14, 2020 by Matthew Linegardecarbonisation, Engineered timber, Director of R&D and product management, Stora Enso
On pbctoday.co.uk “According to the World Green Building Council, buildings account for 39% of global emissions. This splits into 28% for operation of buildings and 11% comes from “embodied carbon emissions associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole building lifecycle”…Engineered timber is a genuine alternative. This is not standard timber frame construction, but rather advanced materials made from wood that boast comparable structural properties to traditional building materials, with other supplementary benefits too.”
Also View Bringing embodied carbon upfront
“Coordinated action for the building and construction sector to tackle embodied carbon” by World Green Building Council, September 2019
New Sustainable Building Materials Developed from Trees
Elizabeth Montalbano on www.designnews.com Apr 7, 2020 “Researchers have identified two tree species that they think are a good source of wood for a new sustainable type of building material that could promote a more environmentally friendly construction industry.” The eastern hemlock and eastern white pine—two trees found natively in forests of the northeastern United States—potentially have the structural stability to be used as cross-laminated timber, or CLT, researchers at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst discovered.”
Researchers build adhesive-free timber building
By Thomas Barrett in Environment Journal, March 26, 2020 “University of Liverpool engineers have built an eco-friendly timber building that does not use any adhesives in the construction process. …Engineers designed and constructed a large section of the office space using adhesive-free laminated timber beams and adhesive-free cross laminated timber panels. They used densified wooden dowels and plates to connect the beams with columns rather than metallic fasteners.”
New edition of CLT Handbook now available
https://www.newswire.ca/FPInnovations, Feb 25, 2020.
Does mass timber have too much hype in North America?
John Bleasby February 5, 2020 in https://canada.constructconnect.com/
“MTC in North America may be growing but it remains in its infancy, well behind Europe in terms of the size and scope of MTC projects built and under consideration. This is partly due to the maturity of the European market mass timber supply chain, according to Briand. In fact, Briand’s company imports most of its mass timber products from European suppliers. The problem is largely the lack of scale in North America, both in the supply chain and the size of trees available for harvesting, explains Briand. “The number of laminators in Europe is just so large and their market so organized that they have better quality control, reliability and prices. The economic reality is that it is cheaper to import from Europe.” In terms of tree size, Briand uses the analogy of using toothpicks instead of coffee sticks to produce laminated components when comparing North America to Europe. “More operations are needed with smaller wood pieces. It costs more money to produce glulam and CLT given the nature of our forestry.” In contrast, European forests are owned and managed privately for the most part. This results in more leeway relating to the harvest of large old growth species, despite legal controversies surrounding certain forestry activities, notably in Romania.”
Building High-Rises Out of Wood Can Help Save the Planet
Matt Simon in wired.com Jan 27, 2020. “Concrete and steel come with massive emissions. So let’s ditch them and build towers out of wood. Yes, wood.” Based on Buildings as a global carbon sink by Galina Churkina et al. 27 January 2020 in Nature Sustainability
The anticipated growth and urbanization of the global population over the next several decades will create a vast demand for the construction of new housing, commercial buildings and accompanying infrastructure. The production of cement, steel and other building materials associated with this wave of construction will become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Might it be possible to transform this potential threat to the global climate system into a powerful means to mitigate climate change? To answer this provocative question, we explore the potential of mid-rise urban buildings designed with engineered timber to provide long-term storage of carbon and to avoid the carbon-intensive production of mineral-based construction materials.
It’s Time We Treat Some Forests Like Crops
Marc Peruzzi Sep 11, 2019 in https://www.outsideonline.com/ “Believers in Mass Timber say smaller trees are the ultimate renewable construction material, but only if we learn to be smarter farmers and builders
Revolutionary Carbon Foam from Wood
by Shannon Kelleher and Tom Moreland, USDA Forest Service, oct 18, 2018. “Carbon foam — a stiff, porous structure formed from a web of carbon atoms — is the stuff of manufacturers’ dreams. The breakthrough material is strong but lightweight, non-flammable and able to maintain its performance at high temperatures, and capable of absorbing sound and radiation. This unique combination of traits means carbon foam is brimming with potential applications across military, aerospace, and commercial industries. It is ideal for aircraft and ship insulation, wall panels, stealth technology (to avoid radar detection) and more….Scientists at the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Lab and Ligsteel LLC are working with Domtar, Inc to develop high-value carbon foam from lignin…The Forest Service has already filed an application for a patent on the novel carbon foam in Canada, where Domtar has a large paper mill, and in China, which is also known for its large-scale paper mill operations.”
New dowel laminated timber product to be used for structural applications
http://journalofcommerce.com/ Mar 27, 2017
StructureCraft Builders Corporation is building a 50,000-square-foot, all-wood facility in Abbotsford, B.C. to manufacture dowel laminated timber (DLT). DLT is made entirely from softwood and hardwood with no metal, glue or plastic….Today there are about 20 DLT manufacturers in Europe, most of them in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. DLT may be the most recent mass timber product, but it joins many others already on the market. Some of them are nail laminated timber (NLT), cross laminated timber (CLT), glue laminated timber (GLT), laminated veneer lumber and laminated strand lumber.
Forest products and applications
Natural Resources Canada
Archived posts on this website
Explainer: everything you need to know about mass timber
The Fifth Estate, June 29, 2017.
Did wooden construction feed Dorchester fire?
Boston Globe June 28, 2017
Officials: Use of laminated lumber caused Ottawa County deck collapse
ox17online.com, June 28, 2017
MASS TIMBER IN THE NEWS
Window of opportunity
Article in LighthouseNow by Gayle Wilson Oct 11, 2017.
It’s about Amos Wood of Blockhouse who got a contract to replace six windows for the historical St. Mary’s Basilica in Halifax.
The windows will be constructed out of Sapele Mahogany, a hardwood from sub-tropical Africa. “Unfortunately,” says Amos of the material. “But it was less expensive than our Western Red Cedar, which would have been a good material to use, but cost ruled the day.” While the original windows were made of pine, Amos maintains that the pine available on the market today is “so young. “It simply doesn’t have the resistance factor that the slower growing, older wood from time ago had.” According to Amos, the forests are now working on a 60- to 80-year rotation, “which cannot give us 200-year-old wood.”
and this comment followed:
A poorer grade pine will grow up on the southwestern clearcuts, and will not be prized for the purposes this article addresses. Mills had best enjoy their “clear pine” while they still can. We know what the open grown pine looks like, full of knots and larger growth rings; generally poorer grade, and often hit by weevil, which ultimately reduces board footage. There will be far less quality pine grown from this point onward unless on private land by wise and more caring landowners. Current Crown land practices won’t grow quality pine unless by accident.
Nanollose makes first garment from tree-free rayon
by Hannah Abdullah on just-style.com, Nov 1, 2018
On rurallife.ca. “A TEMPORARY WORKSHOP SET UP AT ELMSDALE LUMBER FOR MANUFACTURING NAIL-LAMINATED TIMBER (NLT) PANELS TO BE USED IN THE NEW EAST HANTS AQUATIC CENTRE, A $19 MILLION PROJECT BEING BUILT JUST DOWN THE ROAD BY BIRD CONSTRUCTION.
Massive Strides for Wood in Construction
wood-works.ca Spring and Summer 2017. “Advancements in wood product technology and systems are driving the momentum for innovative buildings in Canada. Products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT) and glue laminated timber (glulam) are part of a bigger classification known as mass timber – construction that uses large, prefabricated wood elements for applications in walls, floors and roofs” Describes use of Mass Timber at Cabot Links in NS
Is mass timber really sustainable?
By OLIVIA MARTIN in www.archpaper.com, November 20 2017. “We like to blame a lot of things for climate change—namely coal and cow farts—but if we were to search for a worthy scapegoat, architects might end up looking in the mirror. The building sector is responsible for 44.6 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. And, with an estimated 1.9 trillion billion square feet to be built in the next 33 years, those emissions will not subside without significant intervention. On the flip side, for architects anyway, this means the power to reduce carbon emissions is quite literally in your hands…Identifying successful ways to build sustainably can be difficult in a haze of greenwashing and checklist-style certifications, but many environmental experts, architects, and scientists are looking to mass-built timber as a reliable way to reduce carbon and fossil fuel output. A recent study, “Carbon, Fossil Fuel, and Biodiversity Mitigation with Wood and Forests,” stated that using wood as a building-material substitute could save “14 to 31 percent of global CO2 emissions and 12 to 19 percent of global FF [fossil fuel] consumption by using 34 to 100 percent of the world’s sustainable wood growth….”
As Mass Timber Takes Off, How Green Is This New Building Material?
BY JIM ROBBINS • APRIL 9, 2019 for Yale Environment 360. “Mass timber construction is on the rise, with advocates saying it could revolutionize the building industry and be part of a climate change solution. But some are questioning whether the logging and manufacturing required to produce the new material outweigh any benefits…The forestry part is what has some skeptical of how ecologically sound mass timber is and, if and when it’s scaled up, whether it will truly provide a planetary climate solution. In a letter to the city of Portland last year, representatives of Oregon environmental groups — including the Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, and Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility — raised serious doubts about mass timber as a green climate solution and questioned the city’s plan to use it. First and foremost, they said, is the need to certify that wood is logged sustainably and certified as such. “Without such a requirement,” the letter stated, the city “may be encouraging the already rampant clear-cutting of Oregon’s forests… In fact, because it can utilize smaller material than traditional timber construction, it may provide a perverse incentive to shorten logging rotations and more aggressively clear-cut.” Such industrial-type forestry — large-scale plantings of trees selected to grow fast — creates a “biological desert,” said Talberth, of the Center for Sustainable Economy. “And it’s driving the extinction of thousands of species. Mass timber is mass extinction.” “We must ensure that mass timber drives sustainable forestry management, otherwise all of these benefits are lost,” agreed Mark Wishnie, director of forestry and wood products at The Nature Conservancy. “To really understand the potential impact of the increased use of mass timber on climate we need to conduct a much more detailed set of analyses.”
How Mass Timber Could Help Reduce Wildfire Risk
Lydia Lee December 9, 2020 for https://www.metropolismag.com/
Alternative title: how to justify short rotation forestry
Comparative life-cycle assessment of a mass timber building and concrete alternative
Shaobo Liang et al., 2020. Wood and Fiber Science. 52(2): 217-229. “The US housing construction market consumes vast amounts of resources, with most structural elements derived from wood, a renewable and sustainable resource. The same cannot be said for all nonresidential or high-rise buildings, which are primarily made of concrete and steel. As part of continuous environmental improvement processes, building life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a useful tool to compare the environmental footprint of building structures. This study is a comparative LCA of an 8360-m2, 12-story mixed-use apartment/office building designed for Portland, OR, and constructed from mainly mass timber. The designed mass timber building had a relatively lightweight structural frame that used 1782 m3 of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and 557 m3 of glue-laminated timber (glulam) and associated materials, which replaced approximately 58% of concrete and 72% of rebar that would have been used in a conventional building. Compared with a similar concrete building, the mass timber building had 18%, 1%, and 47% reduction in the impact categories of global warming, ozone depletion, and eutrophication, respectively, for the A1-A5 building LCA. The use of CLT and glulam materials substantially decreased the carbon footprint of the building, although it consumed more primary energy compared with a similar concrete building. The impacts for themass timber building were affected by large amounts of gypsumboard, which accounted for 16% of total building mass. Both lowering the amount of gypsum and keeping the mass timber production close to the construction site could lower the overall environmental footprint of the mass timber building.”