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The Role of Mass Timber in a Biogenic Materials Revolution

20 June 2023

The Biogenic Materials Revolution Has Begun and Mass Timber Is Leading the Way – Over the next 40 years, the global construction rate is predicted to reach approximately one New York City built every month. This construction boom driven by urbanization and population growth will require a staggering quantity of building materials. Carbon emissions associated with the procurement, manufacturing, and installation of building materials account for approximately 15% of annual global carbon emissions.

Mass Timber: The Biogenic Materials Champion – Mass timber is compelling because it is a low-carbon, biogenic material that breaks through the systemic barriers that stand in the way of the radical, immediate materials change we need. Like the plastics industry, the building industry is slow-moving, relatively conservative, and stuck on a diet of toxic materials with short lifespans like petroleum byproducts or traditional concrete, steel, and glass.

Despite these challenges, mass timber use in the construction industry has grown at a staggering rate. In the U.S, total mass timber projects have exponentially grown from a handful of projects in the mid-1990s to over 800 completed projects today. An industry-wide ambitious and proactive approach to testing and code updates have been instrumental to this growth.

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