Could Be a Game Changer for the Building Industry
Mass timber (short for massive timber) is essentially thick layers of wood compressed to form a structurally sound and load-bearing material that is panelized for construction. There are different types of mass timber panels depending on how the layers are joined.
Mass timber construction is on the rise.
Mass timber technology was developed in forest-rich Austria during the 1990s to make use of smaller boards. The eco-friendly product’s popularity spread through Europe in the early 2000s, but it didn’t catch on in the U.S. until a decade later.
When combined with responsible forestry practices, mass timber can be naturally renewable and produced with low carbon emissions. Not only that, wood sequesters carbon, removing it from the atmosphere and storing it away, therefore helping to mitigate climate change instead of contributing to it.
Mass timber can eliminate potential on-site waste as it is precisely prepared during the manufacturing process. Mass timber buildings also weigh less on their foundations compared to steel structures, often reducing the amount of foundation material and formwork needed
Tall wood buildings can withstand seismic activity better than comparable concrete buildings.
When compared to concrete, a timber building may also be easier to repair, as it can have a larger allowance for movement during an earthquake.
Mass timber has met or exceeded fire resistance requirements, because there are many layers in which a fire must burn through.
Mass timber can also make use of undesirable trees, helping to thin out crowded forests and make room for better forestry practices in the future.
Mass timber looks and feels more natural than steel and concrete.
Scientific studies show that natural elements in an indoor environment help reduce stress and anxiety, which is another win for timber construction.