Cross Laminated Timber Gaining Popularity in US Building Industry

08/08/2018

Sustainability and environmental impact are top of mind for many decision-makers in the building industry today. That’s one reason why the structural wood paneling system called Cross-Laminated Timber, sometimes abbreviated CLT, is quickly gaining popularity here in the United States. Though widely adopted in Europe, the United States is just now taking notice. Because Adolfson & Peterson Construction (AP) prides itself on building structures that are an overall boon to the community, we’d love to take the opportunity to share more about CLT.

Structural Capability

CLT can be a good choice for nearly every element of a building’s superstructure, as well as within hybrid construction. The cross-lamination manufacturing process results in dimensionally stable panels with significant strength, so wall elements can be created that are useful for spanning wide beams or cantilevers. In fact, the material is even strong enough to build elevator cores. The structural capabilities of CLT panels are similar to concrete, surprisingly, while offering a beautiful result compared to other structures.

Ease of Building

CLT can be built both horizontally or vertically and is often considered easier than building with many other materials. In most cases, the panels will be screwed together using wood screws and steel connections, which can result in higher speed than construction using traditional building materials.

Cost

The “sweet spot” for savings may not immediately be clear when you look at CLT as it really has to do with construction speed. This makes a significant difference on buildings taller than four stories.  While not as immediately clear on buildings shorter than this, the savings may still be there depending on several factors. This includes the lowered weight, which can result in a more economic foundation design, requiring less concrete.

Use in Sustainable Construction

At AP, we are always looking to lower our carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the planet. The sustainability aspects of solid timber are outlined below:

 - Trees are always being replanted and will regrow.

 - Trees remove CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen. Carbon is stored away in the wood for the life of the tree. Only when the wood decomposes or is burned is the CO2 released back into our atmosphere.

 - Production processes required for CLT are minimal when compared to other products so there is little waste and environmental impact.

 - Science has shown people are happier in wooden structures when compared to man-made materials.

While no single building material is perfect for every project, CLT is an excellent option for many. If you would like to learn more about how we are embracing this emerging construction material, reach out to us at AP today. We look forward to working with you!