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28 Aug 20 News
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Against the Grain, Mass timber construction is growing to new heights!

In the summer of 2022, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is going to build a 25-floor mass timber apartment block. It will be the biggest mass timber construction structure in the world. Until Sydney, Australia, will take over that title once their 40-floor mass timber office building is erect by 2025.

The demand to find an eco-friendly building material really shows the ambition of architects and developers to create a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. This race has only just begun, and it will be very interesting to see which countries follow suit and how far mass timber construction will go. The most common panel material is cross-laminated timber; this is just part of what Mass timber construction makes use of and many other various types of engineered wood.

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Why mass timber?

So, Why mass timber? Mass timber construction is known for its long lifespans. It has a unique feature, too; it has the ability to actually remove carbon from the atmosphere. Helping big cities reduce their carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their buildings. According to The Climate Trust, A piece of land with no building on it has a higher carbon footprint than land with a Timber structure on it, which is just crazy! It uses different types of engineered wood with cross-laminated timber, Otherwise known as CLT, that being the most common panel material.

Many different architects have said the exposed wood interiors of these buildings are warmer than other materials, aesthetically more pleasing too. Michael Green, who is working on mass timber structures in Canada, said some people walk into the buildings he has designed and want to hug the wooden interiors. We know it is very odd. It does seem mass timber is going to cause a construction revolution, so we understand why people are so excited about this huge change.

The demand to find an eco-friendly building material really shows the ambition of architects and developers to create a sustainable recovery from the pandemic

Mass timber can be cheaper than concrete and steel, depending on where it is sourced. Mass timber is also a lot easier to handle and carry this means that smaller production teams can be put into place and a more simple and streamlined process to build the structures. As the production of mass timber becomes more popular, Mass timber should become significantly cheaper. Unlike other wooden interiors, the dense laminated beams hold up really well in a fire.

Although there are many positives to the Mass Timber Construction Revolution, there are very key questions to the life cycle of Mass Timber. The industry does not have enough data YET to back up the claim that this is the major climate change solution. However, this is a very exciting step towards a cleaner future and a look inside the evolution of the construction industry.