Boston surrendered to the benefits of wood construction

In Boston, two firms designing affordable housing using cross-laminated timber hope it can be replicated elsewhere.

Sustainable engineered wood products are starting to turn up in large-scale construction projects in New England, as architects, developers and institutions look for ways to reduce the building industry’s substantial carbon footprint.

Cross-laminated wood, or CLT, and other wood products are seen as more sustainable than concrete and steel, mainly because the carbon emissions from the production of wood-framing materials are much lower.

Since the University of Massachusetts incorporated CLT construction with impressive effects in the design of its buildings three years ago, this material has appeared in several other major projects, including a new residence at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and an office building under construction in Newington, New Hampshire.

“Boston has a very progressive design, engineering, construction, and development community, and carbon is the new focus”, said John Klein, executive director of Generate Architecture + Technologies, a startup focused on solid wood construction solutions based in Massachusetts.

CLT is a renewable resource, as long as the wood used to manufacture the products comes sustainably, as verified by third-party certification, he said. And the production process is much less carbon-intensive compared to concrete or steel. (The concrete sector is the second-largest industrial CO2 emitter in the world, according to the International Energy Agency.)

CLT is usually exposed inside buildings, as the wood is aesthetically pleasing And that contributes to the sustainability of a building because the construction requires fewer resources – “no additional materials are needed to cover the structure”.

And finally, as the products are prefabricated, the building assembly process is faster, quieter, and results in less construction waste.

Source: Energy News

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