This report was produced by the University of Canterbury for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry under Expression of Interest MAF POL 0910-11665. The report covers extensive research carried out on the construction of the new Arts and Media building at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in Nelson, New Zealand, between March 2010 and June 2011. The collaborative research programme was directed by the Department of Civil and Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury (UC), Christchurch. Major contributions to the research programme were made by third-party industry consultants and reported in separate documents – a copy of all the original reports is included in the Appendices.
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.
The paper discusses experimental and numerical seismic analyses of typical connections and wall systems used in cross-laminated (X-Lam) timber buildings. An extended experimental programme on typical X-Lam connections was performed at IVALSA Trees and Timber Institute. In addition, cyclic tests were also carried out on full-scale single and coupled X-Lam wall panels with different configurations and mechanical connectors subjected to lateral force. An advanced non-linear hysteretic spring to describe accurately the cyclic behaviour of connections was implemented in ABAQUS finite element software package as an external subroutine. The FE model with the springs calibrated on single connection tests was then used to reproduce numerically the behaviour of X-Lam wall panels, and the results were compared with the outcomes of experimental full-scale tests carried out at IVALSA. The developed model is suitable for evaluating dissipated energy and seismic vulnerability of X-Lam structures.
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), which is made by laminating dimension lumber at right angles, is an innovative high-performance building material that offers many positive attributes including renewability, high structural stability, storage of carbon during the building life, good fire resistance, possibility of material recycling and reuse. It is conceptually a sustainable and cost effective structural timber solution that can compete with concrete in non-residential and multi-family mid-rise building market. Therefore, there is a need to understand and quantify the environmental attribute of this building system in the context of North American resources, manufacturing technology, energy constraints, building types, and construction practice. This study is to compare energy consumption of two building designs using different materials, i.e. CLT and concrete.
The designs were based on a five-storey office building, Discovery Place-Building 12, which is located in Burnaby, British Columbia, at 4200 Canada Way. The existing building was built with reinforced concrete. Embodied energy was calculated based on the total amount of material required for each of the building systems. Operational energy was calculated using eQUEST, an energy usage modeling software tool. The environmental impacts of the buildings were evaluated by comparing the total energy consumption through the building life.
CLT has lower non-renewable energy consumption compared to concrete in terms of material acquisition, manufacturing and transportation. Previous studies shew that operational energy accounts for the main amount of total energy use in buildings during their service life. Hence, the importance of embodied energy increases by reducing operational energy consumption. CLT has lower embodied energy compared to concrete. Therefore, the advantage of using CLT as a construction material is becoming greater by designing low energy or passive buildings.
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.
Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society conference
The use of timber construction products and their environmental impacts is growing in Europe. This paper examines the LCA approach adopted in the European CEN/TC350 standards, which are expected to improve the comparability and availability of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The embodied energy and carbon (EE and EC) of timber products is discussed quantitatively, with a case study of the Forte building illustrating the significance of End-of-Life (EoL) impacts. The relative importance of timber in the context of all construction materials is analysed using a new LCA tool, Butterfly. The tool calculates EE and EC at each life cycle stage, and results show that timber products are likely to account for the bulk of the EoL impacts for a typical UK domestic building.
The Guide for Designing Energy-Efficient Building Enclosures for Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings in Marine to Cold Climate Zones in North America was developed by FPInnovations in collaboration with RDH Building Engineering Ltd., the Homeowner Protection Office, Branch of BC Housing, and the Canadian Wood Council.
The project is part of efforts within the Advanced Building Systems Program of FPInnovations to assemble and add to the knowledge base regarding Canadian wood products and building systems. The team of the Advanced Building Systems Program works with members and partners of FPInnovations to address critical technical issues that threaten existing markets for wood products or which limit expansion or access to such new markets. This guide was developed in response to the rapidly changing energy-efficiency requirements for buildings across Canada and the United States.
This guide serves two major objectives:
To assist architects, engineers, designers and builders in improving the thermal performance of building enclosures of wood multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), in response to the increasingly stringent requirements for the energy efficiency of buildings in the marine to cold climate zones in North America (U.S. DOE/ASHRAE and NECB Climate Zones 5 through 7 and parts of Zone 4);
To advance MURB design practices, construction practices, and material use based on best knowledge, in order to ensure the durable performance of wood-frame building enclosures that are insulated to higher levels than traditional wood-frame construction.
The major requirements for thermal performance of building enclosures are summarized (up to February 2013), including those for the following codes and standards:
2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (2011 NECB);
2013 interim update of the 2010 National Building Code of Canada (2010 NBC, Section 9.36–Energy Efficiency);
2012 International Energy Conservation Code (2012 IECC);
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1– Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (2004, 2007, and 2010 versions).
In addition to meeting the requirements of the various building codes and standards, a building may need to incorporate construction practices that reflect local preferences in material use, design and construction.
Regional climate differences will also affect design solutions.
This guide primarily addresses above-grade walls, below-grade walls and roofs of platform wood-frame construction. It also includes information regarding thermal performance of cross-laminated timber (CLT) assemblies as well as the use of non-bearing wood-frame exterior walls (infill walls) in wood post-and-beam and concrete structures.
Examples of thermal resistance calculations, building assemblies, critical interface detailing, and appropriate material selection are provided to help guide designers and builders meet the requirements of the various energy-efficiency codes and standards, achieve above-code performance, and ensure long-term durability. This guide builds on the fundamentals of building science and on information contained within the Building Enclosure Design Guide: Wood-Frame Multi-Unit Residential Buildings, published by the Homeowner Protection Office, Branch of BC Housing.
This guide is based on the best current knowledge and future updates are anticipated. The guide is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice that considers specific building parameters.
In this project, Stora Enso’s newly developed building system has been further developed to allow building to the Swedish passive house standard for the Swedish climate. The building system is based on a building framework of CLT (Cross laminated timber) boards. The concept has been tested on a small test building. The experience gained from this test building has also been used for planning a larger building (two storeys with the option of a third storey) with passive house standard with this building system.
Lend Lease is constructing a new residential building using cross laminated timber (CLT). This material is a relatively new building material in Australia, which has found increased use in multi-story residential and commercial buildings, particularly in Europe. The Centre for Design (CfD), School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University was commissioned by Lend Lease through Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), to investigate the environmental performance associated with the production of the materials, along with HVAC and lighting systems, and associated operation and end-of-life of this novel building, using a life cycle approach.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been used as the core method for determining the potential environmental impacts of the products considered. LCA has been applied in accordance with ISO 14040:2006. Data on the building materials quantities and construction details were supplied by Lend Lease, background life cycle inventory data was gathered from Australian (AUPLCI) and European (Ecoinvent) databases. Data on cross laminated timber was provided by the manufacturer in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Annual operational energy use for the Forté and the reference buildings were calculated using the dynamic building energy simulation software tool ApacheSim. The simulation results for residential spaces were validated against results from an Accurate assessment.
This paper presents energy and environmental performance analyses, a study of summer indoor temperatures and occupant behavior for an eight story apartment building, with the goal to combine high energy efficiency with low environmental impact, at a reasonable cost. Southern Portvakten building is built with prefabricated timber elements using passive house principles in the North European climate. Energy performance was analyzed through parametric studies, as well as monitored energy data, and complemented with analysis of occupant behavior during one year. Results show that airtight, low-energy apartment buildings can be successfully built with prefabricated timber elements in a cold climate. The monitored total energy use was 47.6 kWh/m2, excluding household electricity (revised to a normal year), which is considerably lower than of a standard building built today in Sweden—90 kWh/m2. However, the occupancy level was low during the analyzed year, which affects the energy use compared to if the building had been fully occupied. Environmental analysis shows that the future challenges lie in lowering the household and common electricity use, as well as in improving the choices of materials. More focus should also lie on improving occupant behavior and finding smart solar shading solutions for apartment buildings.