By substituting non-renewable construction materials such as steel and concrete with wood-based materials, it is possible to lower carbon dioxide emissions and use natural resources more resourcefully.
A recent, large-scale project at Linnaeus University, in partnership with 15 companies in the wood and construction sectors, will boost the competitiveness of cross-laminated timber as a material for future construction needs.
Construction and use of buildings are two human activities that have the largest impact on the environment. Approximately half of all extracted material resources are used for this and it produces 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.
Thomas Bader, Professor of Building Technology, Linnaeus University
The new project’s manager Bader aims to promote the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in high-rise buildings. CLT can be likened to plywood, but on a larger scale, three to nine layers with a thickness of 12–45 mm, huge wood boards positioned perpendicular to each other. It can be used as a structural element in floors, beams, and walls.
In the project, Linnaeus University scientists, along with the wood and construction sectors, will examine how cross-laminated timber can be produced so as to obtain ideal properties. The project also comprises the design of connections to be able to easily construct and deconstruct CLT structures.
Furthermore, measuring techniques and models will also be created to enable the assessments of CLT buildings in the long run and perform life cycle analyses of both individual components and entire 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,” stated Bader.
The project has been given SEK 11.5 million by The Knowledge Foundation, and will commence in October and go on for four years. The project is well secured within the wood and construction sector—the 15 participating companies will contribute with stakes comparable 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 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.
Tomas Bengtsson, Production Technology Manager, Södra Wood