Do you want to build tall and really environmentally friendly houses? Then you should take a close look at cross-laminated timber (CLT). The material is created in an industrial process by putting strength-graded boards in a crossway pattern and gluing them together under high pressure.
CLT was introduced in Sweden in the late 1990s. Due to the material’s wide range of uses, it has since grown in popularity among architects, building designers and builders. Today we see CLT used in single-family homes, schools, hospitals and even in infrastructure projects like bridges. A building some twenty storeys tall is no longer a big thing, and even taller buildings are under construction.
So, what is so special about CLT? Well, to begin with it’s made of wood from growing forests. Therefore, the material is not only sustainable, but also has a positive effect on the climate. Instead of emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, like fossil-based materials do, it actually locks in greenhouse gases and stores them in the building.
Secondly, CLT is perfect for prefabrication of houses. In factories, parts can be put together into modules, ready to be assembled on the construction site. The indoor production, taking place under ultimate conditions, makes the process safe and rapid. The prefabricated light-weight modules also have other advantages. They require fewer transports, they minimise building time on the construction site, and they can be put on top of already existing buildings. It’s a perfect solution for cities and other densely populated areas.
Thirdly, CLT is both light and strong. The combination of these characteristics makes it possible to construct tall buildings. At 80 metres, the culture centre Sara kulturhus in northern Sweden is a beautiful example of that.
Finally, as wood is a material that can store both heat and humidity, CLT helps make the indoor climate extra pleasant. So, it is of no surprise that houses built with CLT elements are loved by architects as well as people living or working in them.
Did you know that…
· CLT is also suitable for building parking garages and bridges?
· one cubic metre of CLT can lock in 700 kilos of CO2?
· a single CLT panel can be up to 3 metres wide and 16 metres long?
· the number of board layers used to create 1 panel varies between 3 and 5 depending on usage?
· the thickness of the panels varies from 60 to 200 millimetres?