Cross-laminated timber (CLT) modular construction possesses the advantages of wood, such as excellent carbon storage and thermal insulation, and of modular construction, such as considerably reduced construction period and cost as well as high productivity. This study evaluates the hygrothermal performance of CLT walls considering modular construction in future climatic conditions. Firstly, CLT walls with plywood applied to a core layer were manufactured. A mock-up of a CLT building was produced and its construction process was analyzed. Hygrothermal behavior of the CLT walls was simulated using WUFI simulation program, and the predicted results were verified against measurements obtained from the mock-up experiment. Finally, the hygrothermal performance of the CLT wall was evaluated for four types of insulation and future climate in eight cities of USA. The coefficient of variation—root mean square error (CV(RMSE))—of the temperature and relative humidity inside the ply-lam CLT wall from mock-up experiments and simulation evaluation were 6.43% and 7.02%, respectively, which met the validation criteria. Based on the hygrothermal performance, the ply-lam CLT wall with extruded polystyrene insulation was evaluated as safe from moisture problems in all the eight cities considered in this study. However, the risk of mold growth in all regions and insulation types increased under climate change with a rise of average annual temperature.
There has been no research to date exploring whether timber products can provide effective thermal capacitance in residential or commercial construction. This research is exploring the use of unique mass-timber products to provide a new form of thermal performance capacitance within the built fabric of new and existing homes. The development of mass timber products is a new paradigm in material and building science research in Australia, requiring the accounting for carbon emissions, carbon sequestration, material embodied energy and material thermal properties for this renewable resource. This paper focuses on the results from preliminary building simulation studies encompassing house energy rating simulations and a comparative analysis of embodied energy and carbon storage for a series of house plans in Australia.
Forests can help mitigate climate change in different ways, such as by storing carbon in forest ecosystems, and by producing a renewable supply of material and energy products. We analyse the climate implications of different scenarios for forestry, bioenergy and wood construction. We consider three main forestry scenarios for Kronoberg County in Sweden, over a 201-year period. The Business-as-usual scenario mirrors today's forestry while in the Production scenario the forest productivity is increased by 40% through more intensive forestry. In the Set-aside scenario 50% of forest land is set-aside for conservation. The Production scenario results in less net carbon dioxide emissions and cumulative radiative forcing compared to the other scenarios, after an initial period of 30–35 years during which the Set-aside scenario has less emissions. In the end of the analysed period, the Production scenario yields strong emission reductions, about ten times greater than the initial reduction in the Set-aside scenario. Also, the Set-aside scenario has higher emissions than Business-as-usual after about 80 years. Increasing the harvest level of slash and stumps results in climate benefits, due to replacement of more fossil fuel. Greatest emission reduction is achieved when biomass replaces coal, and when modular timber buildings are used. In the long run, active forestry with high harvest and efficient utilisation of biomass for replacement of carbon-intensive non-wood products and fuels provides significant climate mitigation, in contrast to setting aside forest land to store more carbon in the forest and reduce the harvest of biomass.
As the population continues to grow in China’s urban settings, the building sector contributes to increasing levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concrete and steel are the two most common construction materials used in China and account for 60% of the carbon emissions among all building components. Mass timber is recognized as an alternative building material to concrete and steel, characterized by better environmental performance and unique structural features. Nonetheless, research associated with mass timber buildings is still lacking in China. Quantifying the emission mitigation potentials of using mass timber in new buildings can help accelerate associated policy development and provide valuable references for developing more sustainable constructions in China. This study used a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to compare the environmental impacts of a baseline concrete building and a functionally equivalent timber building that uses cross-laminated timber as the primary material. A cradle-to-gate LCA model was developed based on onsite interviews and surveys collected in China, existing publications, and geography-specific life cycle inventory data. The results show that the timber building achieved a 25% reduction in global warming potential compared to its concrete counterpart. The environmental performance of timber buildings can be further improved through local sourcing, enhanced logistics, and manufacturing optimizations.
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.
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.
The building industry is a large contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and a vast consumer of natural resources. It is estimated that, in the next 40 years, around 415 Gt of CO2 will be released as a result of global construction activities. Therefore, improvements in construction technologies are essential to reduce GHG emissions and thereby attain national and international goals to mitigate climate change. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) has emerged as an innovative alternative material to steel/concrete in building construction, given its relatively low carbon footprint, not to mention its high strength-to-weight ratio, simple installation, and aesthetic features. CLT is a structural composite panel product developed in the early 1990s, and the contemporary generation of CLT buildings are yet to reach the end of their service life. Accordingly, there has been growing interest to understand and optimize the performance of CLT in building construction. In view of that, this paper presents an overview on the feasibility of using CLT in buildings from a life-cycle assessment (LCA) standpoint. The authors performed a brief review on LCA studies conducted in the past decade pertaining to the carbon footprint of CLT buildings. On average, the findings of these studies revealed about 40% reduction in carbon footprint when using CLT in lieu of conventional construction materials (steel/concrete) for multi-story buildings. Furthermore, the paper explores the challenges associated with conducting LCA on CLT buildings, identifies the gaps in knowledge, and outlines directions for future research.
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
The use of wood products is often promoted as a climate change mitigation option to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. In previous literature, we identified longevity and recycling rate as two determining factors that influence the carbon stock in wood products, but no studies have predicted the effect of improved wood use on carbon storage over time. In this study, we aimed at evaluating changes in the lifespan and the recycling rate as two options for enhancing carbon stock in wood products for different time horizons. We first explored the behaviour over time of both factors in a theoretical simulation, and then calculated their effect for the European wood sector of the future. The theoretical simulation shows that the carbon stock in wood products increases linearly when increasing the average lifespan of wood products and exponentially when improving the recycling rate. The emissions savings under the current use of wood products in Europe in 2030 were estimated at 57.65 Mt carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. This amount could be increased 5 Mt CO2 if average lifespan increased 19.54 % or if recycling rate increased 20.92 % in 2017. However, the combination of both strategies could increase the emissions saving almost 5 Mt CO2 more by 2030. Incrementing recycling rate of paper and paperboard is the best short-term strategy (2030) to reduce emissions, but elongating average lifespan of wood-based panels is a better strategy for longer term periods (2046).
The objective of this study was to assess the potential effects of climate change on the moisture performance and durability of massive timber walls on the basis of results derived from hygrothermal simulations. One-dimensional simulations were run using DELPHIN 5.9.4 for 31 consecutive years of the 15 realizations of the modeled historical (1986–2016) and future (2062–2092) climates of five cities located across Canada. For all cities, water penetration in the wall assembly was assumed to be 1% wind-driven rain, and the air changes per hour in the drainage cavity was assumed to be 10. The mold growth index on the outer layer of the cross-laminated timber panel was used to compare the moisture performance for the historical and future periods. The simulation results showed that the risk of mold growth would increase in all the cities considered. However, the relative change varied from city to city. In the cities of Ottawa, Calgary and Winnipeg, the relative change in the mold growth index was higher than in the cities of Vancouver and St. John’s. For Vancouver and St. John’s, and under the assumptions used for these simulations, the risk was already higher under the historical period. This means that the mass timber walls in these two cities could not withstand a water penetration rate of 1% wind-driven rain, as used in the simulations, with a drainage cavity of 19 mm and an air changes per hour value of 10. Additional wall designs will be explored in respect to the moisture performance, and the results of these studies will be reported in a future publication. View Full-Text