Aiming for the High-Rise Prize with Cross-Laminated Timber Products

Michael Green, the Canadian architect who has trumpeted the economic and environmental value of wood high-rise buildings, was featured in a recent Economist magazine story, Barking up the right tree. Green, among others, has championed cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels as a key structural element for the future of wooden skyscrapers.

Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) have been an integral part of developing safe, sustainable, and strong “mass timber” products like CLT. Five FPL researchers have co-authored several chapters in the new multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed CLT Handbook.

Supervisory Microbiologist Carol Clausen briefs Secretary Vilsack on FPL’s Moisture Test Facility.

Supervisory Microbiologist Carol Clausen, left, briefs Secretary Vilsack on cross-laminated timber products during a 2012 visit to FPL.

In March, 2014, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced broad support for using wood and engineered wood products in modern wood buildings. These announcements were made during the “Building With Wood: Jobs and the Environment” workshop hosted by the White House Rural Council.

The Secretary has repeatedly emphasized USDA’s overall strategy to promote the use of wood as a green building material. FPL, as the national R&D laboratory of the U.S. Forest Service, has invested over $2 million in research and technical support. This line of research affords many opportunities for emerging wood technologies to be used in housing developments and other green building projects, the likes of which Michael Green and his fellow wood-loving architects will no doubt continue to create.