Wood has been an essential building material for as long as humankind has been building structures. Today, wood is still the king of light frame construction, but as buildings have grown larger, we’ve seen a shift to steel and concrete because of their strength and durability. Could that be changing?
All across the world, wood-framed, high-rise buildings are popping up. In fact, thanks to a competition sponsored primarily by the United States Department of Agriculture, wood-framed, high-rise buildings will be constructed in New York City and Portland, Oregon. These buildings will be built with engineered wood panels and beams, which are referred to as “mass timber” or “tall wood.” Common forms of engineered wood include cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber (NLT), and glue-laminated timber (glulam).
But what is the point of using mass timber? Why not stick with steel and concrete? I’m glad you asked.
Mass timber is not going to erase the need for steel and concrete. But there are plenty of applications where it may be the better fit. And given the remarkable environmental benefits, this tree-hugger gives two thumbs up to cutting down trees!