Wood if We Could:

Mass Timber for Academic & Public Buildings

A big part of building Passive House is an awareness of the materials being used. It takes energy to produce these materials, to ship them, and to put them together. It’s an important consideration, especially for larger public and academic buildings, which require more materials to build. This weekend, we’re taking a look back at Hacker Architects Principal and Lead Designer Corey Martin’s presentation Mass Timber for Academic and Public Buildings to see how this material fares in larger, multi-use spaces.

Using wood requires a fraction of the energy it takes to produce the same amount of steel and concrete, and when combined with sustainable forest management and building demolition practices, mass timber construction can be seen as a form of carbon sequestration, removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere. What’s good for the environment is good for us too, especially when you factor in the impacts that natural materials have in our living and working spaces. As Corey will show us, students working in mass timber buildings have an easier time concentrating, and being in these spaces is associated with lower heart-rates and more creative and innovative thinking.

Follow along with Corey as he describes the steps taken to embark on a large-scale mass timber project, including creating models and collaborating with contractors early in the project. Learn how mass timber structures can be built in less time and result in a relatively quiet construction site, ideal for smaller spaces and fewer crew members.

Want to hear more about mass timber? We’re holding a panel on the embodied carbon and environmental sustainability of cross laminated timber in relation to forest care, material usage, and optimized construction techniques during our 2023 Passive House Network Conference. Come hear from industry leaders in the Rocky Mountain region and reorient your relationship with lumber. Chris Magwood from RMI will be joined by Kyle Hanson and Christopher Hamm, PE from Timber Age Systems, Inc. in a conversation moderated by Lindsey Love from Love | Schack Architecture. Passive House, Embodied Carbon, & Environmental Sustainability will be held online and in Denver on October 5th. Register now and learn how low embodied carbon strategies can be scaled across the US.

For more innovative ways to use timber, don’t forget to check out last week’s throwback on Sawkill House, a Passive House retrofit that utilizes reclaimed wood.