Sustainable Solutions

Revolutionary New Construction Method Fends Off Wildfires

Designed by MORK-ULNES architects, the Octothrope House was of the first homes in the United States to be made entirely from cross-laminated timber (CLT). The owners, with an idea of a home what was environmentally progressive, reached out to MORK-ULNES with such an idea in mind, ultimately choosing to use CLT due to its sustainability factor.

Made of several layers of lumber arranged crosswise, glued together and hydraulically pressed for strength, CLT is just as strong but five times lighter and much better fit for the environment as compared to standard lumber.

Concrete, iron and steel production accounts for 27% of the world’s industrial harmful carbon pollution and that concrete alone, and the most used building material on the planet, accounts for over 7% of carbon pollution worldwide, according to Fair Planet.

CLT on the other hand is easy to produce and can be pre-cut offsite, creating less construction waste. In addition, what isn’t used can be recycled right at the factory that makes it.

According to Microsoft Starr, While concrete will still have to be used for foundations, CLT can be used for flooring, walls, and even ceilings. According to an article in the University of Washington Magazine, buildings made with CLT could result in a 25% to 30% reduction in pollution that causes planetary overheating compared to a similar building made of traditional materials. 

Aside from greatly reducing the need for concrete, CLT benefits the climate by locking in carbon, and its lightweight and fire-resistant properties make it ideal for taller and commercial buildings.
At the 2021 World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit, Lisa Podesto, senior business development manager at Lendlease, a global real estate and investment company that has built several CLT structures, said, “The beauty of this new product type — mass timber — is that it’s competing in a market space with materials that timber couldn’t compete with in prior building generations … It’s opening opportunities to offset carbon in a different landscape.

”The positive effects of the material were also touted by Susan Jones, a founding architect of the Seattle-based firm Atelierjones, when she said, “It’s important to use CLT and demonstrate the benefits of building more sustainably.”

Read More