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Mass Timber, Small Format: Creative Applications of Fabrication off-cuts

Timeline: 
2020-2022

Project Lead: Linda Zimmer and Cory Olsen, UO College of Design

Abstract: During the testing and fabrication of mass timber projects a natural byproduct inevitably occurs in the form of offcuts and cutouts.  In the case of new mass timber structures, the engineered wood materials are typically fabricated and prepared off site, allowing for the majority of the leftover materials to be made into useful products at the same facility already ideally set up for further digital fabrication.  While the thickness of many of the spare panelized elements under investigation/production at TDI might seem excessive for smaller scale elements, the digital design and production techniques already being used allow for a fine degree of precision commensurate with furniture joinery.  We propose to experiment with designing and fabricating furniture scale components and furniture prototypes as a way to reclaim these otherwise unused timber products. This project captures off cuts and remaindered materials from structural testing at TDI in both CLT and MPP panels. 

Carbon narratives for design planning

Timeline: 
2020-2023

Research Lead: Mark Fretz, UO College of Design

Abstract: Despite the complicated narrative, designers and their clients are embracing mass timber for its multiple positive attributes; however, would like more clarity and uniformity in the embodied wood carbon narrative so that they can make the best-informed decisions when specifying material during design planning. Akin to the sustainable farm to table agricultural movement in our food supply, designers and their clients are relishing the forest to frame parallels for sustainably growing our buildings. To address topics for which the AEC industry urgently needs more clarity, specifically: impacts of biogenic carbon based on proper accounting, forestry management practices and carbon storage in the ecosystem, end-of-life material assumptions, and stand rotation timelines, this project will use peer-reviewed scientific data and invited transdisciplinary expertise and perspectives in academia, industry, government and environmental advocacy from North America and Europe to gather for a symposium and follow-up work sessions highlighting the gaps, alternative narratives, and consensus regarding mass timber embodied carbon. The University of Oregon will facilitate a common narrative appropriate for design planning and will focus on not only the Pacific Northwest region but include other regions in North America and Europe since mass timber and forest products are transacted globally for building construction. The deliverables will include a synthesis of the best available evidence/panelist information into a set of education materials with documentation on topics drawn out of the symposium.  This work will contribute to educating students, architects, engineers, builders, and developers on making informed choices regarding modern timber construction.

Defining project‐specific custom CLT grade utilizing low‐value Ponderosa pine lumber from logs harvested in SW Oregon and Northern California forest restoration programs

Timeline: 
2018 - 2021

Research Team: Dr. Lech Muszynski, Dr. Mariapaola Riggio, Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Dr. Jeff Morrell (USC, Australia)

Abstract: The general aim of the USDA FS 2017 Wood Innovation program is to significantly increase or stimulate markets for wood products utilizing low‐value small‐diameter material generated in National Forest System restoration programs. We believe that low‐value Ponderosa pine lumber from logs harvested in SW Oregon and Northern California forest restoration programs could be successfully utilized in massive structural cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels in low-rise modular structures. The objective of this project is to assess the feasibility of low-value ponderosa pine CLT through a series of standard performance tests.

Exploratory Study of Salvaged Lumber as Feedstock for Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

Timeline: 
2017 – 2019
Project Lead: Dr. Laurence Schimleck
Abstract: The United States (US) generates of 70 million tons of wood waste every year with a recycling rate ranging between 10 to 15 percent. To improve recovery and use of wood waste, cities like Portland, Oregon implemented a deconstruction ordinance that requires buildings of a certain vintage to be deconstructed instead of demolished. This ordinance stimulates new markets for salvaged materials, but concerns of market saturation exist for salvaged lumber of shorter length and smaller dimensions. Mass timber products, like cross-laminated timber (CLT), could provide a new value-added market for this material, but minimal research has examined the performance of panels made using a salvaged raw material. This study suggests that salvaged lumber could potentially be a new source of raw material for mass timber products, which could create new opportunities for wood waste recovery and greener building products.

Environmental Impact of Mass Plywood Panels

Timeline: 
2018 - 2019

Project Lead: Arijit Sinha

Abstract: Mass timber products are often selected for their perceived sustainability advantages, and a lifecycle analysis for an Oregon-based CLT manufacturing facility is being completed. This project will assess the environmental impacts of mass plywood panel manufacturing, a new product that has become available commercially in Oregon in 2018. It will examine material flow, energy type and use, emissions to air and water, solid waste production and water impacts for the MPP manufacturing process on a per unit volume basis using a cradle-to-gate lifecycle assessment process. The data will be available for stakeholders to use for informational and learning purposes and to assist in determining the sustainability of mass timber building projects.

Environmental Assessment of MPP

Timeline: 
2018 - 2019
Project Lead: Arijit Sinha
 
Abstract: Mass timber products are often selected for their perceived sustainability advantages, and a lifecycle analysis for an Oregon-based CLT manufacturing facility is being completed. This project will assess the environmental impacts of mass plywood panel manufacturing, a new product that has become available commercially in Oregon in 2018. It will examine material flow, energy type and use, emissions to air and water, solid waste production and water impacts for the MPP manufacturing process on a per unit volume basis using a cradle-to-gate lifecycle assessment process.  
The data will be available for stakeholders to use for informational and learning purposes and to assist in determining the sustainability of mass timber building projects.

Carbon Impacts of CLT

Timeline: 
2018 - 2019

Project Lead: Alison Kwok

Abstract: CLT offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using timber, which requires much less energy to produce than steel or concrete and naturally sequesters carbon through its lifetime. However, there is a gap in the literature and a lack of general understanding about how much carbon CLT sequesters compared to the carbon emitted in the manufacturing process and in creating the adhesives used, as well as how the carbon value is calculated. This project analyzes and summarizes relevant literature and will create six case studies to illustrate the embodied carbon impacts of various kinds of mass timber buildings. In doing so, it aims to reduce confusion in the sector and assist designers and developers in making informed decisions regarding future green buildings.

Life Cycle Analysis of Old- and New Peavy Hall

Timeline: 
2017 - 2019

Project Lead: Paul Frederik Laleicke

Abstract: This project assesses and compares the environmental impacts of forest products used in the old (1999) Peavy Hall teaching building at Oregon State University and the new mass timber building that will be completed in 2018. The findings will be incorporated in updated guidelines for life cycle analysis that fully take into account the role of reclaimable wood building products.