Cross-Laminated Timber Would Open up New Wood Opportunities in the Hawaii Market
HLPA announces the new standard approval for Cross-Laminated Timber
The American National Standards Institute approved a new standard for Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) on December 20, 2011. The standard provides requirements and test methods for qualification and quality assurance of the product. This test method includes seven stress classes covering major wood species. Code change proposals have already been submitted for the 2015 International Building Code which would allow CLT products meeting the standard requirements to be recognized as code-compliant construction materials. "This is great news for our industry and for the Hawaii market. The new CLT approvals provides even greater levels of strength and opportunities of use in structures to replace Steel and Concrete." said Ken Laughlin, president of Hawaii Lumber Products Association.
Cross-laminated timber is a multi-layer wooden panel made of lumber. CLT is formed using small sections of lumber bonded together with permanent adhesive with each layer of boards being placed cross-wise to the adjacent layers. This allows imperfections in the original timber, such as knots, to be removed to reduce inconsistency and increase structural performance.
It has been widely used in Europe but has been gaining traction in North America through the emerging green building movement. CLT possesses a number of positive environmental characteristics common to all wood products. According to life cycle assessment studies these include carbon storage, less manufacturing greenhouse gas emissions and overall a lighter environmental footprint compared to non-wood materials.
Cross-laminated timber would open up new opportunities for the Hawaii market in commercial and industrial construction. In addition to residential use, it would expand the use of wood-based products to non-residential and mid-rise markets as a suitable substitute to concrete and steel. This would greatly impact Hawaii as the popularity of urban multi-story wood frame residential and non-residential structures continues to spread throughout major metropolitan areas.
Even though cross-laminated timber is equivalent to concrete and steel, it has several advantages over them which include rapid construction time, being precise and safe, and produces less waste. With CLT being light weight, it reduces the load on foundations so there is less of a need for materials with high embodied energy like concrete. CLT is also versatile and can be easily combined with other materials such as lumber, heavy timber, steel, concrete, or glass and it accepts varied finishes. "Being able to use wood in more construction, will greatly impact the Hawaii ecosystem, said Ken Laughlin. "With the state's growing population, Hawaii's environment will benefit more from wood than steel or concrete in terms of embodied energy, water and air pollution and its carbon footprint."
There has been strong interest among building professionals, code officials, governments and others to make CLT more readily available to the North American market. Though not widely available as of yet, in North America it is currently available through StructureCraft Builders, CST Innovations, Structurlam, and Nordic Engineered Wood with some U.S. manufacturers like Sustainable Cross Laminated Technologies LLC, planning to begin production soon. In Hawaii, there are numerous examples of wood-built commercial and industrial buildings but with the possibility of CLT, it would open up the wood market to build taller structures. Cross-laminated timber has only begun to scratch the surface of new opportunities it has opening up.
The Hawaii Lumber Products Association is comprised of professionals representing the development and construction industry as well as building material producers and service companies. They are committed to the education and promotion of lumber products as the best choice for home construction in Hawaii. To find out more about using wood to build commercial buildings, please visit www.HawaiiLumber.com.