University of Ore. projects use mass timber as the product takes off in the U.S.

September 5, 2019 | Environmental Leader

New construction at the University of Oregon’s Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact will use mass timber, a category of wood construction material that can replace steel and concrete for load-bearing functions and is considered a more sustainable option. Another university facility, Hayward Field – currently undergoing renovation – will use mass timber for its canopy, according to the Register Guard in Eugene, Oregon.

Mass timber, also known as engineered or composite wood, has commonly been used for construction in Europe since the 1990s and is being increasingly used by builders in the US, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, according to the WoodWorks Wood Products Council, a non-profit organization providing design assistance to the engineering and construction communities. As a construction material, mass timber is favored by designers for its strength, aesthetics, construction efficiency, reduced carbon footprint, and ability to work alongside other materials as a structural element. And, because mass timber allows such large, solid structural elements to be manufactured from relatively small-diameter trees as well as other traditionally low-value resources (such as forests affected by insects), it is increasingly being sought as a sustainable alternative.

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