#DitchThePodium: Why Mass Timber is Optimal for Green Building
The incentives and demand for more sustainable, eco-friendly buildings has increased significantly over the last decade. LEED, the world’s leading rating system for green buildings, issued over 69,000 building certifications in 2019, a dramatic increase from a mere 296 in 2006. That figure doesn’t even account for the many buildings built to LEED standards that simply haven’t undergone a formal certification process.
Such rapid change within the industry may seem intimidating to those used to employing traditional building methods. However, green building often results in greater efficiency and less complexity than one might expect. Green building is not a complete overhaul of traditional building methodology. In fact, it is largely the result of simple yet effective innovations and improvement upon existing methodology. A great example of this would be the use of mass timber.
Wood has been used in construction since the very beginning and that likely won’t change any time soon. However, we’ve managed to create innovative and sustainable ways of harvesting and engineering the wood to fit our needs through mass timber production. Mass timber (softwood) is intentionally harvested from responsibly managed forests with a surplus of timber. Often, the surplus timber comes from trees that have fallen due to some form of natural disaster and that need to be cleared from the forest floor as a precaution against forest fires. The pieces of softwood are then engineered into larger, sturdier slabs of wood that are more structurally sound and fire resistant than stick frame. Mass timber is also more environmentally friendly than steel and concrete seeing as little to no emissions are given off in its production process, it is a renewable resource, and it functions as a carbon sink, absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. What’s more, mass timber offers all of these benefits at relatively low cost.
In an effort to capitalize on the amazing benefits of mass timber, Haycon has recently taken on a new project that uses cross-laminated timber, a subset of mass timber. Pictured below, the proposed 11 E. Lenox project located in Roxbury, Massachusetts will be a 7-story multifamily development, designed and built to passive house standards in collaboration with Monte French Design Studio, Boston Real Estate Collaborative, Passive to Positive, Code Red Consultants, and D2 Development. The use of mass timber allows for the building to exceed the height restrictions that would typically be imposed on stick frame wood developments. It also eliminates the need for a podium or fireproofing. These unique features will amount to a beautiful new development that is sturdy, fire resistant, and cost-effective, with low energy expenditure and a relatively small carbon footprint!
Haycon is very excited to take on this new project and others like it in the future in our prolonged effort to create dwellings and spaces that encourage the health and well-being of our environment and it’s inhabitants.
Visit our website or follow us on our social media to see the latest developments with our 11 E. Lenox project and more!