Project contact is Paulo Tabares at the Colorado School of Mines
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) is a mass timber material that has the potential to expand the wood building market in the U.S. However, new sustainable building technologies need extensive field and numerical validation quantifying environmental and economic benefits of using CLT as a sustainable building material so it can be broadly adopted in the building community. These benefits will also be projected nationwide across the United States once state-of-the-art software is validated and will include showcasing and documenting synergies between multiple technologies in the building envelope and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. However, there are no such studies for CLT. The objective of this project is to quantify and showcase environmental and economic benefits of CLT as a sustainable building material in actual (and simulated) commercial buildings across the entire United States by doing: (1) on-site monitoring of at least four CLT buildings, (2) whole building energy model validation, (3) optimization of the performance and design for CLT buildings and (4) comparison with traditional building envelopes. This knowledge gap needs to be filled to position CLT on competitive grounds with steel and concrete and is the motivation for this study.
Cross-laminated timbers (CLTs) are strong and lightweight structural building materials. CLTs are made from renewable wood resources and have significant economic potential as a new value-added product for the United States. However, market penetration has been obstructed by product affordability and lack of availability for use. Previous studies and projects have surveyed opinions of designers and contractors about the adoption of CLTs. No previous study was found that surveyed cost estimators, who serve the essential function of creating economic comparisons of alternative materials in commercial construction. CLTs are not included in these current cost estimation tools and software packages which may be limiting the potential use of CLT in construction.
The purpose of this study was to discover if cost estimation is being used to make structural decisions potentially affecting the marketability of CLT use in construction and building design because of the ability to estimate CLTs adequately. Through the use of a survey, the re-designing of a building, and discussions with subject matter experts, this study examined the knowledge level of cross-laminated timbers of under-surveyed building construction professions and the relationship between cost estimation and structural material choices. Their responses are demonstrating the need for better cost estimation tools for cross-laminated timbers such as inclusion in the Construction Specifications Institute's classification systems in order for CLTs to become a more competitive product. The study concluded that cost estimation is important for CLT market development, because it is being used extensively in the construction industry.
The objective of this study was to examine new attributes and conduct economic analyses for composite CLT (CCLT) and value-added appearance-based CLT products manufactured with varying substitution of softwood lumber with structural composite lumber (SCL) and hardwood lumber. Incentives for including such materials could be aesthetic, structural and economic.
This Chapter provides general information about the manufacturing of CLT that may be of interest to the design community. The information contained in this Chapter may also provide guidance to CLT manufacturers in the development of their plant operating specification document. Typical steps of the CLT manufacturing process are described, and key process variables affecting adhesive bond quality of CLT products are discussed. The manufacturing, qualification, and quality assurance requirements in accordance with the American National Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber, ANSI/APA PRG 320, are discussed.