With advances in wood product development and building code acceptance, mass timber structural systems have become viable alternatives to steel and concrete structural systems (Post 2015). These mass timber systems have environmental benefits, such as carbon sequestration ability and lower greenhouse gas emissions than steel and concrete systems. How can mass timber materials such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) reduce the environmental impacts of buildings, and how certain is this reduction? In order to truly answer this question, environmental impact assessments of CLT and other wood materials must first address variation and uncertainty in forest management and biogenic carbon accounting.
Katerra is a start-up construction company that has developed a vertically integrated cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing supply chain and facility. Katerra commissioned the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) and the Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) at the University of Washington to perform a life cycle assessment (LCA) study to understand the environmental impacts and opportunities for impact reduction in Katerra’s CLT supply chain and manufacturing process. CINTRAFOR performed an LCA of the CLT supply chain and production process while the CLF performed a whole building LCA of a new building that used CLT produced at Katerra’s CLT facility.
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Cross laminated timber (CLT) has recently increased in use as a building material for low carbon design and is often applied in small and multi-story buildings. Several studies have shown lower fossil related greenhouse gas emission than alternatives, but the life cycle emissions vary substantially between different CLT producers. These emissions are mainly indirect and thus climate change mitigation could reduce these emissions. Previous research shows that that biofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are technologies that have the potential to reduce the climate impacts of the CLT life cycle. This study assesses the impacts on climate change from CLT with these technologies within the framework of environmental product declarations (EPD). In the short run, switching to fossil free fuels provides a reduction in the carbon footprint of CLT. In the long run, CCS at the end-of-life of CLT buildings can provide a net negative carbon footprint over the life cycle. This assessment on the use of CLT is mainly related to the Sustainable Development Goal SDG9 Industries, innovation and infrastructure and the indicator for CO2 emissions per value added, so the assessment in this paper is mainly focused on this goal. SDG7 on affordable and clean energy and SDG15 Life on land are also relevant.
We conducted a systematic literature search and meta-analysis of studies with side-by-side life cycle analysis comparisons of mid-rise buildings using mass timber and conventional, concrete and steel, building materials. Based on 18 comparisons across four continents, we found that substituting conventional building materials for mass timber reduces construction phase emissions by 69%, an average reduction of 216 kgCO2e/m2 of floor area. Studies included in our analysis were unanimous in showing emissions reductions when building with mass timber compared to conventional materials. Scaling-up low-carbon construction, assuming mass timber is substituted for conventional building materials in half of expected new urban construction, could provide as much as 9% of global emissions reduction needed to meet 2030 targets for keeping global warming below 1.5 °C. Realizing the climate mitigation potential of mass timber building could be accelerated by policy and private investment. Policy actions such as changing building codes, including mass timber in carbon offset crediting programs and setting building-sector-specific emissions reduction goals will remove barriers to and incentivize the adoption of mass timber. Private capital, as debt or equity investment, is poised to play a crucial role in financing mass timber building.
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
According to the predictions of United Nations (2017) there are more than 7 billion people on Earth and this number will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Today, most of the population lives in the urban areas and the rapid growth entails more construction in a housing sector. Since the industrial revolution the world has experienced countless technological attainments and on the other hand risky increase in natural resources use, energy consumption, greenhouse gases emission, ozone depletion, toxification and global temperature rising. The question how the cities can respond to urban growth is related to the sustainable goals of Agenda 2030. This research discusses potential of the usage of timber as construction material and it also brings the answer to this question. The wood is 100% renewable, recyclable and nontoxic material with capacity to absorb CO2 and perform low embodied energy. The increase of timber use in the construction contributes to sustainable development and to the reduction of waste, CO2 emission, as well as energy consumption. The aim of this paper is to discuss the advantages of using timber as a sustainable solution in urban context, in comparison with most commonly used concrete. The findings demonstrate the value of timber as sustainable construction material.
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.
As the state of Oregon begins to introduce a new cap and trade program to reduce the effects of its greenhouse gas emissions, the state has opted not to incorporate its largest greenhouse gas emitter; the timber industry. The decline of the timber industry after the 1980’s had lasting effects on disadvantaged communities, and state politicians have battled the cap and trade bill in fear of further deterioration of the timber industry. In this paper I aim to take an in depth look at the potential that CLT has in Oregon, how it can be promoted by the government, and what the environmental effects of it are. I found that, with the rise of mass timber construction and promotion of green building, the state has the opportunity to use revenues from its cap and trade program to economically incentivize CLT construction that can provide relief to economically stressed rural logging communities, all whole bolstering its efforts to better the environmental impact of an ever expanding construction industry.
Properly designed wooden truss bridges are environmentally compatible construction systems. The sharp decline in the erection of such structures in the past decades can be led back to the great effort needed for design and production. Digital parametric design and automated prefabrication approaches allow for a substantial improvement of the efficiency of design and manufacturing processes. Thus, if combined with a constructive wood protection following traditional building techniques, highly efficient sustainable structures are the result. The present paper describes the conceptual design for a wooden truss bridge drawn up for the overpass of a two-lane street crossing the university campus of one of Vienna’s main universities. The concept includes the greening of the structure as a shading design element. After an introduction, two Austrian traditional wooden bridges representing a good and a bad example for constructive wood protection are presented, and a state of the art of the production of timber trusses and greening building structures is given as well. The third part consists of the explanation of the boundary conditions for the project. Subsequently, in the fourth part, the conceptual design, including the design concept, the digital parametric design, the optimization, and the automated prefabrication concept, as well as the potential greening concept are discussed, followed by a summary and outlook on future research.
More and more people live in cities. The building industry is responsible for 33% of waste production and is set to increase further to 50% in 2025. The energy efficiency is continuously increased, but the waste production at the end of life of a building is largely ignored. This design proposes a solution in the form of a zero-waste high-rise design. It uses only recyclable or renewable materials. Mass-timber is chosen as the main material as it is not only renewable and easily reusable, it is also a storage of CO2. The design reuses the foundation of existing buildings, and with the lightweight properties of mass-timber, increases the density on the location by building taller. The design is four times taller as the current buildings. To allow for sustainable densification, the design offers public and collective qualities. The building has been designed is such a way to be easily refitted during its life cycle or to be completely disassembled at the end of life.
Katerra has developed its own cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing facility in Spokane Valley, Washington. This 25,100 m2 (270,000 ft2 ) factory is the largest CLT manufacturing facility in the world, and is capable of producing approximately 187,000 m3 of CLT per year. Katerra has also established a vertically integrated supply chain to provide the wood for the CLT factory. Production started in summer of 2019.
Katerra commissioned the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) and Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) at the University of Washington to analyze the environmental impacts of its CLT as well as the Catalyst Building in Spokane, Washington. The Catalyst is a 15,690 m2 (168,800 ft2), five-story office building that makes extensive use of CLT as a structural and design element. Jointly developed by Avista and McKinstry, Katerra largely designed and constructed the building, and used CLT produced by Katerra’s new factory. Performing a life cycle assessment (LCA) on Katerra’s CLT will allow Katerra to explore opportunities for environmental impact reduction along their supply chain and improve their CLT production efficiency. Performing an LCA on the Catalyst Building will enable Katerra to better understand life cycle environmental impacts of mass timber buildings and identify opportunities to optimize environmental performance of mid-rise CLT structures.
The goal, scope, methodology, and results of this analysis are detailed in this report.