There’s a new construction material on the rise, and fervent supporters of this material are touting it as the beginning of a construction revolution that’ll utterly transform environmentally sustainable architectural design.
Mass timber isn’t the general wood you can find in your normal timber and hardware store. To bear a heavy load, mass timber is constructed from sheets of wood that have been nailed or glued together under pressure with alternating patterns to make the beam, post or panel stronger. Such a method is innovative not only because this makes mass timber arguably stronger than steel, this also allows builders to use younger and faster growing trees for sustainable logging.
Furthermore, many hope the rise of mass timber may be a significant part of the climate change solution.
The urban built environments account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions every year, and buildings contribute 35% of that figure, which is a staggering statistic. The production process of steel and concrete building also contributes large amounts of carbon – and many architects, manufacturers and environmental specialists want to use mass timber as a carbon sequestration material to transform the industry from a giant CO2 producer to a massive carbon sink.
Trees naturally store carbon, pulling it out of the air to give out oxygen and storing it within their bodies. The only time they release carbon is when they’re burned. Not just that, wood is also theoretically a totally renewable resource, has a faster production time, and by using it as material, tie up the existing carbon in their bodies for decades, or even longer.
Unlike concrete structures, wood can be reused for future office fitout projects. In fact, many find repurposed timber from old buildings have an aged, rustic charm that new timber often doesn’t have, creating an appealing aesthetic on its own.
Already, businesses have been trying out this new technology. Lever Architecture’s Albina Yard, a 16,000 square foot office building located in Portland, Oregon is made out of cross-laminated timber, while 25 King in Brisbane is currently Australia’s tallest timber building at 45 m high, with 10 floors in its office block.
What about fire?
Building large, office blocks made entirely out of wood might seem like a fire-disaster ready to develop at any time – but in fact, it’s much safer than you may imagine. Fire chars the outside of the timber blocks, insulating the heat from structurally damaging wood inside the block. This allows the timber to keep structural integrity and continue carrying weight in a fire situation. In fact, mass timber may even have better integrity than steel – while steel melts and warps, wood still holds its shape under intense heat.
Sustainably sourced timber?
This rising trend in constructing with wood can only be sustainable if we also source wood sustainably as well.
Happily enough, Australia has one of the best forestry management systems in the world, which makes it easier to know whether your timber comes from a sustainable source. There are three forestry certification schemes that you can look out for when you search for good aids to check the source of your wood.
- The Australian Forest Certification Scheme (AFCS)
- Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
- The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Ask yourself – has your wood come from an Australian certified sustainable forest?
Wood – Better for Psychological Health
Not only that, using wood in your buildings can help your employee’s psychological health and wellbeing. Including natural elements in your design can help your worker’s report 15% higher wellbeing, 6% greater productivity and feel inclined to have less sickdays. Ultimately, building with timber not only has a beautiful aesthetic, it can also help your business’s bottom line.
Try using sustainable wood in your newest design now! At SBProjects you can collaborate with people that have great insight on getting the most out of wood in design. Contact us via https://sbprojects.com.au/ or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.