Timber building has gained more and more attention worldwide due to it being a generic renewable material and having low environmental impact. It is widely accepted that the use of timber may be able to reduce the embodied energy of a building. However, the development of timber buildings in China...
The objective of this project was to quantify and compare the environmental impacts associated with alternative designs for a typical North American mid-rise office building. Two scenarios were considered; a traditional cast-in-place, reinforced concrete frame and a laminated timber hybrid design, which utilized engineered wood products (cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam). The boundary of the quantitative analysis was cradle-to-construction site gate and encompassed the structural support system and the building enclosure. Floor plans, elevations, material quantities, and structural loads associated with a five-storey concrete-framed building design were obtained from issued-for-construction drawings. A functionally equivalent, laminated timber hybrid design was conceived, based on Canadian Building Code requirements. Design values for locally produced CLT panels were established from in-house material testing. Primary data collected from a pilot-scale manufacturing facility was used to develop the life cycle inventory for CLT, whereas secondary sources were referenced for other construction materials. The TRACI characterization methodology was employed to translate inventory flows into impact indicators. The results indicated that the laminated timber building design offered a lower environmental impact in 10 of 11 assessment categories. The cradle-to-gate process energy was found to be nearly identical in both design scenarios (3.5 GJ/m2), whereas the cumulative embodied energy (feedstock plus process) of construction materials was estimated to be 8.2 and 4.6 GJ/m2 for the timber and concrete designs, respectively; which indicated an increased availability of readily accessible potential energy stored within the building materials of the timber alternative.
European experience shows that Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) can be competitive in mid-rise and high-rise buildings. Although this system has not been used to the same extent so far in North America, it can be viable wood structural solution for the shift towards sustainable densification of urban and suburban centers. For these reasons FPInnovations has undertaken a multi-disciplinary project on determining the performance of a typical CLT construction, including quantifying the seismic resistance and force modification factors for CLT buildings in Canada and the US.
In this report, a performance-based seismic design (PBSD) of a CLT building was conducted and the seismic response of the CLT building was compared to that of a wood-frame structure tested during the NEESWood project. A suitable force modification factors (R-factors) for CLT mid-rise buildings with different fasteners were recommended for seismic design in Canada and the US. The six-storey NEESWood Capstone building was redesigned as a CLT building using the PBSD procedure developed during the NEESWood project. The results from the quasi-static tests on CLT walls performed at FPInnovations were used as input information for modeling of the main load resisting elements of the structure, the CLT walls. Once the satisfactory design of the CLT mid-rise structure was established through PBSD, a force-based design was developed with varying R-factors and that design was compared to the PBSD result. In this way, suitable R-factors were calibrated so that they can yield equivalent seismic performance of the CLT building when designed using the traditional force-based design methods.
Based on the results of this study it is recommended that a value of Rd=2.5 and Ro=1.5 can be assigned for structures with symmetrical floor plans according to NBCC. In the US an R=4.5 can be used for symmetrical CLT structures designed according to ASCE7. These values can be assigned provided that the design values for CLT walls considered (and implemented in the material design standards) are similar to the values determined in this study using the kinematics model developed that includes the influence of the hold-downs in the CLT wall resistance. Design of the CLT building with those R-factors using the equivalent static procedures in the US and Canada will result in the CLT building having similar seismic performance to that of the tested wood-frame NEESWood building, which had only minor non-structural damage during a rare earthquake event.
It is not surprising to see a rapid growth in the demand for mid- to high-rise buildings. Traditionally, these types of buildings have been dominated by steel and concrete. This trend creates a great opportunity for wood to expand its traditional single and low-rise multi-family building market to the growing mid- to high-rise building market. The significance and importance of wood construction to environmental conservation and the Canadian economy has been recognized by governments, the building industry, architects, design engineers, builders and clients. It is expected that more and more tall wood frame buildings of 6- to 8-storeys (or taller) will be constructed in Canada. Before we can push for use of wood in such applications, however, several barriers to wood success in its traditional and potential market places have to be removed. Lack of knowledge of the dynamic properties of mid- to high-rise wood and hybrid wood buildings and their responses to wind, and absence of current guidelines for wind vibration design of mid- to high-rise wood and hybrid wood buildings are examples of such barriers.
Most office building construction relies on steel and concrete for mid-high rise office building applications. The primary goal of this thesis is to understand the implications of CLT and mass timber construction systems for mid-high rise office buildings in Seattle by developing a prototypical office building located on a specific site. This research thesis will focus on comparing this prototypical mass timber office building design to the same/similar design using industry standard construction materials for Seattle. The criteria for comparison will include code, cost, schedule and greenhouse gas emissions.