timber building with CLT

New project will create greener buildings

By replacing non-renewable construction materials like concrete and steel with wood-based materials, it is possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and use natural resources more efficiently. A new, large project at Linnaeus University, in collaboration with 15 companies in the wood and construction industry, will increase the competitiveness of cross-laminated timber as a construction material for the future.

The construction and use of buildings is one of the human activities that have the largest impact on the environment. Roughly half of all extracted material resources are used for this and it generates about one third of all emissions of carbon dioxide in the EU.

“Therefore, to replace non-renewable materials like concrete, steel, and brick with wood-based materials has great potential. It can help us reduce our carbon footprint in a cost-efficient way and make use of our natural resources in a more efficient way”, says Thomas Bader, professor of Building Technology at Linnaeus University.

Bader is manager for a new, large project with the aim to increase the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in multi-storey buildings. CLT can be compared to plywood, but in a larger scale – 3–9 layers of 12–45 mm thick, massive wood boards placed perpendicular to each other. It can be used as a structural element in beams, floors and walls.

In the project, researchers at Linnaeus University, together with the wood and construction industry, will study how cross-laminated timber can be manufactured in order to acquire optimal properties. The project also includes the design of connections in order to be able to easily construct and deconstruct CLT structures. What is more, measuring methods and models will also be developed in order to make it possible to make assessments of CLT buildings in the long term and carry out life cycle analyses of both individual components and complete buildings.

“It is about increasing the competitiveness of cross-laminated timber products and, in that way, contribute to a green transformation of the construction industry. We want to point out the possibilities, strengths, and advantages of CLT both scientifically and practically. Not just from an environmental point of view, but also economically and construction-wise”, says Bader.

The project has been granted SEK 11.5 million by The Knowledge Foundation, starts in October and will go on for four years. The project is well anchored within the wood and construction industry – the 15 participating companies contribute with stakes equivalent to SEK 14.2 million.

“CLT has a lot of development potential, partly concerning how it is used in the construction of buildings, and partly concerning how the boards are manufactured to maximise the gain from the raw material. The results from the project will be of benefit to us, but what is more important is that the the timber and the construction industry gets access to the results through, for instance, new standards. Common standards benefit the use of CLT and that’s also the main motive of Södra Wood’s venture”, says Tomas Bengtsson, production technology manager at Södra Wood.

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