Cross-laminated timber, also known as X-Lam or CLT, is well established in
Europe as a construction material. Recently, implementation of X-Lam products and
systems has begun in countries such as Canada, United States, Australia and New
Zealand. So far, no relevant design codes for X-Lam construction were published in
Europe, therefore an extensive research on the field of cross-laminated timber is being
performed by research groups in Europe and overseas. Experimental test results are
required for development of design methods and for verification of design models
This thesis is part of a large research project on the development of a software
for the modelling of CLT structures, including analysis, calculation, design and
verification of connections and panels. It was born as collaboration between Padua
University and Barcelona"s CIMNE (International Centre for Numerical Methods in
Engineering). The research project started with the thesis “Una procedura numerica per
il progetto di edifici in Xlam” by Massimiliano Zecchetto, which develops a software,
using MATLAB interface, only for 2D linear elastic analysis. Follows the phase started
in March 2015, consisting in extending the 2D software to a 3D one, with the severity
caused by modelling in three dimensions. This phase is developed as a common project
and described in this thesis and in “Pre-process for numerical analysis of Cross
Laminated Timber Structures” by Alessandra Ferrandino.
The final aim of the software is to enable the modelling of an X-Lam structure in
the most efficient and reliable way, taking into account its peculiarities. Modelling of
CLT buildings lies into properly model the connections between panels. Through the
connections modelling, the final aim is to enable the check of preliminarily designed
connections or to find them iteratively, starting from hypothetical or random
This common project develops the pre-process and analysis phases of the 3D
software that allows the automatic modelling of connections between X-Lam panels. To achieve the goal, a new problem type for GiD interface and a new application for
KRATOS framework have been performed. The problem type enables the user to model
a CLT structure, starting from the creation of the geometry and the assignation of
numeric entities (beam, shell, etc.) to geometric ones, having defined the material, and
assigning loads and boundary conditions. The user does not need to create manually the
connections, as conversely needs for all commercial FEM software currently available;
he just set the connection properties to the different sides of the panels. The creation of
the connections is made automatically, keeping into account different typologies of
connections and assembling of Cross-Lam panels. The problem type is special for XLam structures, meaning that all features are intentionally studied for this kind of
structures and the software architecture is planned for future developments of the postprocess phase.
It can be concluded that sound bases for the pre-process and analysis phases of
the software have been laid. However, future research is required to develop the postprocess and verification phases of the research project.
Sustainability and innovation are key components in the fight against climate change. Mass timber buildings have been gaining popularity due to the renewable nature of timber. Although research comparing mass timber buildings to more mainstream buildings such as steel is still in the early stages and therefore, limited. We are looking to determine the difference between carbon footprints of mass timber and traditional steel and concrete buildings. This is done with the intention of determining the sustainability and practicality of mass timber buildings.
The Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 caused significant damage to the Christchurch building stock. However, it is an opportunity to build more comfortable and energy efficient buildings. Previous research suggests a tendency to both under heat and spot heat, meaning that New Zealand dwellings are partly heated and winter indoor temperatures do not always meet the recommendations of the World Health Organization. Those issues are likely to be explained by design deficiency, poor thermal envelope, and limitations of heating systems.
In that context, the thesis investigates the feasibility of building an energy efficient and cost-competitive house in Christchurch. Although capital costs for an energy efficient house are inevitably higher, they are balanced with lower operating costs and improved thermal comfort. The work is supported by a residential building project using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels. This atypical project is compared with a typical New Zealand house (reference building), regarding both energy efficiency and costs.
The current design of the CLT building is discussed according to passive design strategies, and a range of improvements for the building design is proposed. This final design proposal is determined by prioritizing investments in design options having the greatest effect on the building overall energy consumption. Building design features include windows efficiencies, insulation levels, optimized thermal mass, lighting fixture, as well as HVAC and domestic hot water systems options. The improved case for the CLT building is simulated having a total energy consumption of 4,860kWh/year, which corresponds to a remarkable 60% energy savings over the baseline.
The construction cost per floor area is slightly higher for the CLT building, about 2,900$/m² against
2,500$/m² for the timber framed house. But a life cycle cost analysis shows that decreased operating costs makes the CLT house cost-competitive over its lifetime. The thesis suggests that the life cycle cost of the CLT house is 14% less than that of the reference building, while the improved CLT design reaches about 22% costs savings.