Wood: The Future of Construction?

NBT Updates

At first glance, wood is not the most futuristic of building materials. When we think about how buildings will look in years to come, I’m sure many of us envisage shiny metal, concrete or glass structures. The T3 project in Minnesota however looks set to challenge opinions about how modern buildings should be constructed…

T3 will be the tallest wood-framed building in the US and will house offices and work spaces. Featured on Green Building Elements, they say:

The foundation and first story of T3 will be concrete and steel, but both the elevator core and the floor plates will be assembled from solid columns and panels of engineered lumber. The panels can be made as large as 8 feet by 64 feet and as thick as up to 16 inches. Built elsewhere and trucked to building sites, the panels can be assembled more quickly than traditional steel and concrete buildings.

As well as containing the benefit of quick construction, wood holds important environmental properties that other types of materials cannot offer.

A mass timber building’s carbon footprint is estimated to be almost 75% less than a concrete and steel building of similar size.

This is, of course, great news and hugely important information for the future of construction, however using these materials for building does not come without difficulties. T3 architect Michael Green raised an interesting point about the obstacles of building using materials such as wood, and claimed that the problems do not necessarily arise in the engineering. He says that “it’s the managing of public perceptions of the issues, and it’s education”. Ensuring people know about the environmental, monetary and efficiency benefits that using natural materials provide is an important step in revolutionising the construction industry. That is why we offer information and support when selecting products, to ensure the right materials are used in the right way.

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