Comparing the environmental impacts of building materials at the building level can be biased because a building design is optimized for a primary structural material. To achieve objective comparisons, this study compares the environmental impact of reinforced concrete (RC), cross-laminated timber (CLT), and timber-concrete composite (TCC) at the component level with equivalent structural performance. A slab was selected as the target structure member because its design does not consider lateral forces. Equivalent structural performance was defined as the minimum quantity of slab materials for comparable span and live load conditions. The functional unit for this study was defined as a 1 m2 slab. The system boundary covered the cradle-to-gate perspective, including raw material extraction, transportation, and manufacturing. The structural design method and material design values followed the Korean building code and standards. Environmental product declaration data developed in Korea were used to evaluate the carbon footprint. The CLT emitted 75 % less carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gases responsible for anthropogenic climate change, compared with RC regardless of conditions, while the TCC emitted 65 % less CO2, and its environmental impact improved as the span lengthened. The results also indicated that timber slabs are thinner than concrete slabs and can be structurally rational.
The European Commission adopted a long-term strategic vision aiming for climate neutrality by 2050. Lithuania ratified the Paris agreement, making a binding commitment to cut its 1990 baseline GHG emissions by 40% in all sectors of its economy by 2030. In Lithuania, the main construction material is cement, even though Lithuania has a strong wood-based industry and abundant timber resources. Despite this, approximately twenty percent of the annual roundwood production from Lithuanian forests is exported, as well as other final wood products that could be used in the local construction sector. To highlight the potential that timber frame construction holds for carbon sequestration efforts, timber and concrete buildings were directly compared and quantified in terms of sustainability across their production value chains. Here the concept of “exemplary buildings” was avoided, instead a “traditional building” design was opted for, and two- and five-floor public buildings were selected. In this study, eleven indicators were selected to compare the sustainability impacts of wood-based and concrete-based construction materials, using a decision support tool ToSIA (a tool for sustainability impact assessment). Findings revealed the potential of glue-laminated timber (GLT) frames as a more sustainable alternative to precast reinforced concrete (PRC) in the construction of public low-rise buildings in Lithuania, and they showed great promise in reducing emissions and increasing the sequestration of CO2. An analysis of environmental and social indicators shows that the replacement of PRC frames with GLT frames in the construction of low-rise public buildings would lead to reduced environmental impacts, alongside a range of positive social impacts.
Glued-in perforated steel plate (GIPSP) connections demonstrate significant shear strength and high slip modulus. Consequently, they indicate substantial potential for application in timber–concrete composite (TCC) structures according to the emerging tendencies in high-storey and large-span buildings. However, the application pattern in prefabricated TCC structures and the theoretical analysis of the shear performances of GIPSP connections are highly deficient. This hinders the application of this type of shear connection. In this study, the shear performances of GIPSP connections were evaluated using push-out tests. Ten groups of push-out specimens with different steel plate numbers, steel plate lengths, and concrete slab types were tested. The concrete slab types investigated in the experiments included a prefabricated concrete slab and cast-in-situ concrete slab. The experimental results were discussed in terms of the failure mode, load-carrying capacity, and slip modulus. The theoretical models for the load-carrying capacity related to the associate failure mode were discussed based on an analysis of the failure mechanisms. In addition, design proposals with regard to the load-carrying capacity and slip modulus of the GIPSP connection were presented. The research results can provide design guidance for TCC beams using GIPSP connections and prefabricated concrete slabs.
Friction-based dampers are a valid solution for non-invasive seismic retrofitting interventions of existing structures, particularly reinforced-concrete (RC) structures. The design of friction-based dampers is challenging: underestimating the slip force prevents the full use of the potential of the device, which attains the maximum admissible displacement earlier than expected. By contrast, overestimating the slip force may cause delayed triggering of the device when the structure has suffered extensive damage. Therefore, designing the appropriate slip force is an optimization problem. The optimal slip force guarantees the highest inter-story drift reduction. The authors formulated the optimization problem for designing a specific class of friction-based dampers, the asymmetric friction connection (AFC), devised as part of the ongoing multidisciplinary Horizon 2020 research project e-SAFE (Energy and Seismic AFfordable rEnovation solutions). The seismic retrofitting technology involves the external application of modular prefabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels on existing external walls. Friction dampers connect the CLT panels to the beams of two consecutive floors. The friction depends on the mutual sliding of two metal plates, pressed against each other by preloaded bolts. This study determines the optimal slip force, which guarantees the best seismic performance of an RC structural archetype. The authors investigate the nonlinear dynamic response of a coupled mechanical system (RC frame-friction damper) under a set of strong-motion earthquakes, using non-differential hysteresis models calibrated on the experimental cyclic responses. The solution of the optimization leads to the proposal of a preliminary simplified design procedure, useful for practitioners.
Recently, cross-laminated timber (CLT) has attracted attention as a civil engineering material in Japan. In particular, the use of CLT floor slabs for bridge repair is expected to have regional economic impacts throughout their life cycle, but their economic impacts have not been evaluated. In this study, the life cycle regional economic impacts of using non-waterproofed CLT, waterproofed CLT, and reinforced concrete (RC) floor slabs for bridge repair in Akita Prefecture, Japan, were compared. Using past-to-present input–output tables, we quantitatively evaluated the economic impacts over the life cycle of floor slabs by estimating the future input–output tables for construction, maintenance, and disposal. The results showed that the construction and maintenance costs (final demand increase) of CLT floor slabs are higher than those of RC slabs, but the regional economic impact is larger. In addition, the non-waterproofed CLT must be renewed every time it is maintained. Therefore, the demand for CLT production in the prefecture will increase, and the economic impact will be larger than that of the other two floor slabs. This demand for CLT production will not only redound to the benefit of the forestry and wood industry but also the revitalization of regional economies.
Developed to help fill a critical need for housing in Boise’s downtown core, Thomas Logan is an attractive, brick-clad building that fits perfectly within the urban neighborhood. Defying the typically unremarkable design stereotypes of affordable housing, this striking development provides homes for 60 families; 45 of the units are designated for people making 30 to 60 percent of the county’s median income.
The recycling potential (RP) indicates the ability of building materials to form a closed-loop material flow, that is, the material efficiency during its whole life cycle. Mass timber constructions and concrete buildings vary widely in RP, but the differences are difficult to calculate. This paper proposed a level-based scheme to compare the RP of mass timber and concrete buildings, and a BIM-Eco2soft-MS Excel workflow coupling Material Cycle Database and digital design tools were established to obtain information on building materials, resource consumption, and environmental impact for the RP calculation. Taking a residential building as an example, the difference in RP between mass timber and concrete at the material-level is firstly discussed. Then at the component-level, the RP of the wood structure component and concrete component is compared, and the optimization methods are proposed. Finally, the difference in RP between the mass timber building and reinforced concrete building at the building-level are illustrated. The results show that the RP of mass timber building is higher, and the disassembly ability is better. Within a 100-year service life, the RP of mass timber buildings is 73% and that of the reinforced concrete building is 34%. The total amount of material consumption and waste of the Variant CLT is 837,030 kg and 267,237 kg respectively, which is less than one-third of that of concrete buildings (3,458,488 kg; 958,145 kg). The Global Warming potential (GWP) of these two variants is -174.0 kgCO2/m2 and 221.0 kgCO2/m2 separately, indicating that the Variant CLT can realize negative carbon emissions and gain ecological benefits. A sensitivity analysis is conducted to explore the potential impacts of certain parameters on GWP and RP of buildings. The research can provide the reference for material selection, component design, and RP optimization of mass timber buildings. In addition, new ideas for assessing the potential of circularity as a design tool are proposed to support the transition towards a circular construction industry and to realize carbon neutrality.
With the growing importance of the principle of sustainability, there is an increasing interest in the use of timber–concrete composite for floors, especially for medium and large span buildings. Timber–concrete composite combines the better properties of both materials and reduces their disadvantages. The most common choice is to use a cross-laminated timber panel as a base for a timber–concrete composite. But a timber–concrete composite solution with plywood rib panels with an adhesive connection between the timber base and fibre reinforced concrete layer is offered as the more cost-effective constructive solution. An algorithm for determining the rational parameters of the panel cross-section has been developed. The software was written based on the proposed algorithm to compare timber–concrete composite panels with cross-laminated timber and plywood rib panel bases. The developed algorithm includes recommendations of forthcoming Eurocode 5 for timber–concrete composite design and an innovative approach to vibration calculations. The obtained data conclude that the proposed structural solution has up to 73% lower cost and up to 71% smaller self-weight. Thus, the proposed timber–concrete composite construction can meet the needs of society for cost-effective and sustainable innovative floor solutions.
The benefits of using wood in tall and commercial construction are undisputed, namely reducing the carbon footprint, shortening construction times, and enhancing seismic and building physics performance. The international market for wood as a structural material in tall and non-residential construction, however, is still relatively untapped. China is home to the world’s largest population and the largest construction sector worldwide, yet wood products are only used in a small fraction of buildings. The main reasons for this situation are the fire regulations and lack of guidelines for novel wood-based structural systems. This paper describes the design of a 10-storey timber-concrete business hotel which will be erected in the Guizhou province of China. The foundation design, gravity system design, lateral load resisting system design, seismic analysis and the fire resistance design were conducted, and the procedure provided appropriate information to the technological feasibility to promote the development of timber-based hybrid high-rise construction systems in China.
In recent years, timber has been considered as an alternative source of building material because of its sustainability and design efficiency. However, the cost competitiveness of timber buildings is still under study due to the lack of available cost information. This paper presents a comprehensive cost comparative analysis of a mass timber building mainly developed with cross-laminated timber (CLT). The actual construction cost of the project is compared with the modeled cost of the same building designed as a concrete option. The result shows that the construction cost of timber building is 6.43% higher than the modeled concrete building. The study further investigated the change orders associated with the project and found that the total cost of change orders contributed 5.62% to the final construction cost of mass timber building. The study is helpful to provide insight into the construction cost of typical mass timber buildings. It also can be used as a guide for the project owners to make decisions regarding their initial investments on a mass timber project.