The anticipated growth and urbanization of the global population over the next several decades will create a vast demand for the construction of new housing, commercial buildings and accompanying infrastructure. The production of cement, steel and other building materials associated with this wave of construction will become a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Might it be possible to transform this potential threat to the global climate system into a powerful means to mitigate climate change? To answer this provocative question, we explore the potential of mid-rise urban buildings designed with engineered timber to provide long-term storage of carbon and to avoid the carbon-intensive production of mineral-based construction materials.
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.
Project contact is Weichiang Pang at Clemson University
The overall goal of this project is to enable the use of cross laminated timber (CLT) to construct commercial and other non-residential buildings in High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ). The 1992 Hurricane Andrew exposed the shortcomings of existing building codes. Recognizing this shortcomings, the Florida Building Code (FBC) incorporated new enhanced provisions which specifically require that the entire building envelope, including the wall and roof systems, must be impact resistant in HVHZ. Currently, CLT is not in the database of a list of building envelope products that comply with the HVHZ standard. The specific objectives of this project are (1) to qualify PRG-320 compliance CLT panels for HVHZ standard by conducting FBC debris impact and wind pressure cyclic tests; (2) to conduct education and outreach sessions to promote the use of CLT in HVHZ, and (3) to identify possible construction projects that may utilize CLT as the building envelope and promote the use of CLT in those projects. The test results generated in this project will be used specifically to gain HVHZ building code approval.
Project contact is Shiling Pei at the Colorado School of Mines
NHERI Tallwood project is an effort to develop and validate a resilient-based seismic design methodology for tall wood buildings. The project started in September 2016 and will last till 2020. The project team will validate the design methodology through shake table testing of a 10-story full-scaled wood building specimen at NHERI@UCSD. It will be the world's largest wood building tested at full-scale.
This Wood Innovation Grant studies four separate cross laminated timber column/beam and topping slab combinations, to demonstrate the most suitable parameters for a commercial office building in a high seismic area. The study takes direct aim at a perception that mass timber limits a commercial building’s ability to have column-free spaces as well as floor-to-floor heights that preserve utility/MEP flexibility. The case study examines the eighty-five foot, new 4C Building Type. Engrained construction habits can too easily table innovations. We would like to give the industry more to work with - and feel secure about - when specifying materials in built projects.
3161 Elliott LLC will develop a 4C type office building on Seattle’s downtown waterfront. The site is controlled by Greg Smith, of Urban Visions. Our architect-engineer-contractor team leads in the mass timber space: atelierjones, DCI Engineers, McKinstry Engineering, Swinerton and includes design partners from the ICC Tall Wood Building Committee, including Sam Francis, formerly with AWC, Carl Baldassarra, Fire Protection Engineer from Wiss, Jenny, Elstner, as well as consultants from Woodworks, including Bill Parsons and Ethan Martin. All are united in solving whatever potential limitations may be encountered while designing for a new building type, with a new material. Our collaboration will make us stronger.
In 2020, Urban Mass Timber Floor Heights Study-3161 Elliott LLC design is on-track to complete City of Seattle Design Review Board Process and Building Permit Drawings. Wood Innovation Grant Funds will be used for systems design, structural and fire protection engineering, mass timber costing, and code analysis. The project will submit Permit drawings, move into final costing, and Mass Timber pricing in mid-2021. Following the receipt of a City of Seattle Building Permit, and successful leasing, construction could start the following year. The foundational work of determining the critical clear spans and floor-to-floor heights will lay the economic success of the new ICC Building Type 4C for years to come.
The Urban Mass Timber Floor Heights Study-3161 Elliott LLC will be shared with the Mass Timber community and public. As a WoodWorks Case Study, it will be shared through events, from webinars, national presentations, to publications through ThinkWood/USDA/USFS channels to showcase how Mass Timber can create typical midrise commercial office buildings with large, natural open spans of beautiful local timber and new experiences for commercial office tenants in US communities.