Special Issue "Mass Timber and Sustainable Building Construction"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Indroneil Ganguly
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Interests: life cycle assessment of wood products; bioenergy solutions; wood products trade and environmental policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to you with a proposal for a Special Issue in the journal Sustainability that will gather original research articles, case studies, review articles, and methodological notes in the fields of mass timber-based building constructions and interaction between the built and the natural environments. The topic is timely, with large-scale significance for the building construction industry and its impact on climate change.

The building construction industry is regarded as one of the most carbon-intensive and wasteful industrial sectors, contributing to a significant share of the total greenhouse gas emissions in most industrialized countries. Whereas most industries in modern society have made tremendous technological advancements in the last few decades, the building construction industry has demonstrated an unimpressive innovation adoption propensity. This is especially true with regard to structural engineering and corresponding material use for building constructions. However, the tide may be turning, with positive adoption trends of innovative mass timber systems among architects and designers for designing taller buildings with wood as the primary structural material.

The use of wood in low rise construction, utilizing light wood-frame and post-and-beam systems, is well established in North America and some European and Latin American countries. Complementing the traditional use of wood in building constructions, mass timber systems enable construction of taller buildings using wood as the primary structural material. Mass timber framing styles are typically characterized by the use of large solid engineered wood panels for wall, floor, and roof construction. The products in the mass timber family include cross-laminated timber (CLT), glued laminated timber (GLT), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), nail-laminated timber (NLT), mass plywood, and other similar engineered panel and beam products.

Mass timber systems offer a potentially appealing alternative to traditional materials where new buildings can be constructed with (i) significantly lower fossil carbon emissions, (ii) reduced material waste and lighter carbon footprint, (iii) increased construction efficiency, and (iv) long-term biogenic carbon storage. Moreover, the proponents of mass timber systems also claim that increased demand for wood will help forest heath restoration, mitigate catastrophic forest fire risk, promote sustainable forestry, and help to drive reforestation activities.

Accordingly, we are inviting original research articles, case studies, review articles, and methodological articles/notes, in the following topical areas:

  1. Comparative life cycle assessment (LCA)-based environmental analysis of mass timber products;
  2. Comparative life cycle assessment (LCA)-based environmental assessment of mass timber building systems;
  3. Biophilic building designs and operations, and environmentally responsible mass timber-based construction systems;
  4. Role of circular economy in developing a comprehensive understanding of mass timber-based building systems, including, end of life, cascading use of wood, and cross-sectoral interlinkages;
  5. Analysis of embodied carbon, carbon storage, forest carbon stock changes, carbon stock changes in the economy, and temporal evaluation of the global warming impact analysis associated with mass timber building systems;
  6. Analysis of enviroeconomic scenarios associated with mass timber usage, including consequential life cycle assessment;
  7. Exploring linkages between the mass timber adoption, increased wood demand and impact on natural systems and the world’s forests.
  8. General analysis of wood demand and sourcing, because of increased adoption of mass timber as a building material.

Dr. Indroneil Ganguly
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mass timber
  • Sustainable building construction
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Embodied carbon
  • Carbon storage
  • Circular economy

Published Papers (2 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Article
Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment and Life-Cycle Cost Analysis of a High-Rise Mass Timber Building: A Case Study in Pacific Northwestern United States
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7831; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147831 - 13 Jul 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Global construction industry has a huge influence on world primary energy consumption, spending, and greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. To better understand these factors for mass timber construction, this work quantified the life cycle environmental and economic performances of a high-rise mass timber building [...] Read more.
Global construction industry has a huge influence on world primary energy consumption, spending, and greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. To better understand these factors for mass timber construction, this work quantified the life cycle environmental and economic performances of a high-rise mass timber building in U.S. Pacific Northwest region through the use of life-cycle assessment (LCA) and life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA). Using the TRACI impact category method, the cradle-to-grave LCA results showed better environmental performances for the mass timber building relative to conventional concrete building, with 3153 kg CO2-eq per m2 floor area compared to 3203 CO2-eq per m2 floor area, respectively. Over 90% of GHGs emissions occur at the operational stage with a 60-year study period. The end-of-life recycling of mass timber could provide carbon offset of 364 kg CO2-eq per m2 floor that lowers the GHG emissions of the mass timber building to a total 12% lower GHGs emissions than concrete building. The LCCA results showed that mass timber building had total life cycle cost of $3976 per m2 floor area that was 9.6% higher than concrete building, driven mainly by upfront construction costs related to the mass timber material. Uncertainty analysis of mass timber product pricing provided a pathway for builders to make mass timber buildings cost competitive. The integration of LCA and LCCA on mass timber building study can contribute more information to the decision makers such as building developers and policymakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mass Timber and Sustainable Building Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Overview and Main Findings for the Austrian Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7584; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147584 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 529
Abstract
As part of a project investigating in the potential greenhouse gas mitigation effect of the increased use and production of mass timber worldwide, a comparative study was carried out to show the potential benefit of mass timber use in buildings in central Europe. [...] Read more.
As part of a project investigating in the potential greenhouse gas mitigation effect of the increased use and production of mass timber worldwide, a comparative study was carried out to show the potential benefit of mass timber use in buildings in central Europe. After designing a mass timber building functionally equivalent to an existing conventional building, cradle to grave life cycle assessments (LCA) were calculated. The reference is an eight-story building with mixed use in Vienna, originally built in reinforced concrete. Global Warming Potential (GWP) is defined as the central parameter of interest. Calculated life cycle phases are A1–A3 (resource to production), A4 and A5 (transport to site and construction, respectively), B4 (replacement in the use phase), and C1–C4 (End of Life), as well as D (benefits and loads beyond the building life). It can be shown that the total mass of the timber building is 47% lower than of the concrete building. Considering life cycle phases A1 to A5, the timber building shows 18% less embodied carbon. Taking the whole building life cycle and the operational energy use (B6) into account, differences in GWP are much lower, as the heating system, though equipped with high efficiency and clean Austrian electricity grid mix, has much higher impact than the other phases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mass Timber and Sustainable Building Construction)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop