The Vancouver Wood Solutions Fair today was a very enjoyable experience with about 1,100 delegates plus exhibitors. There are some very exciting developments in the wood industry that were featured this year. One of them is the commercial production of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) panels that is expected to start this year in North America. The seismic performance of CLT was demonstrated by replaying a few of the full-scale seismic tests that have been performed. Structural engineers and designers should be excited about the CLT Handbook, which provides guidance and an “alternative solution” necessary for code compliance when designing structures that use these panels.
Another recurring theme was the discussion of wood as a building material that has superior environmental performance due to its low embodied energy. One of the presentations I attended described some of the tools available that use Life Cycle Assessment to compare the environmental performance of different building materials. This is a topic that is dear to my heart since it was a central part of my Master’s thesis (which translates to: you will see more posts on this later).