Building Blocks: Cross-Laminated Timber / by Nicole Frederick

What is cross-laminated timber you ask?

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a wood panel typically consisting of three, five, or seven layers of dimension lumber-oriented at right angles to one another and then glued to form structural panels with exceptional strength, dimensional stability, and rigidity.

Don't worry we know that some of our construction lingo can be a little confusing but CLT or Cross-laminated timber is an untapped building resource not being utilized in the US as much as it should be. Many other countries including Canada, Australia, and most European nations are now building high-rises with CLT. The US likes to boast about its green buildings, but we are unable to match the carbon footprint being left by these new CLT buildings.

When compared, CLT structures leave a quarter size footprint than structures that rely on steel or concrete. This footprint is the major reasoning behind the push for CLT to drive future construction projects towards sustainability within the US. In an article published by Seattle Business writers Andrea Watts and Leslie Helm state, 

building high-rises from wood — could bring timber back into the spotlight, stimulating rural economies and promoting forest health in a way that architects, conservation groups and timber companies can get behind.

Cross-laminated Timber is a development that both conservative business groups, and liberal environmentalist could get behind. Although not many CLT projects have been given the green-light in the US as of 2016, we are expecting a spike in 2017 based on these trends.  In closing, we would like to leave with this time-lapse of the construction of the Lend Lease's Forte Apartments in Victoria Harbour, Melbourne Australia, the world's tallest modern wooden apartment building. It's quite a site.