One of the many ways we need to change society to reduce damage to the planet is to replace concrete and steel in buildings with engineered lumber, a.k.a. cross-laminated timber. That’s a term for panels or timbers made from layering small pieces of lumber in alternating directions that are bonded together with structural adhesive. Engineered lumber is being used in buildings as tall as 20 stories since it’s strong, handsome, and fire resistant despite being made of wood.
The climate benefit is twofold: It locks away the carbon that the tree pulled out of the atmosphere and replaces the emissions-intensive process of making concrete and steel.
Tree-filled Maine is a big fan of engineered lumber, as you might expect. UMaine has an Advanced Structures and Composition Center that, among other things, determines the strengths and weaknesses of various combinations of woods, glues and geometry. That’s the kind of basic, unexciting work necessary when you’re dealing with engineering and construction practices.
The center just qualified two more types of CLT for building construction, as reported by that riveting news site, Civil and Structural Engineering Media (story here).