Trees of Life: Turns out We Can GROW our Way Out of Climate Change

The New York Times has an optimistic piece about the potential of modern, wooden construction to improve urban design and transportation, all while sequestering carbon.

The only thing the story lacked was photos of the beautifully-designed buildings.

Photos from Ema Peter in Olivia Martin, “Largest mass timber building in U.S. opens tomorrow in Minneapolis,” The Architect’s Newspaper (Nov. 29, 2016), https://archpaper.com/2016/11/t3-minneapolis-mass-timber-building/#gallery-0-slide-0; see also https://www.carbon12pdx.com/.

From Frank Lowenstein, Brian Donahue and David Foster in The NY Times:

“This opportunity arises from cross-laminated timber, or CLT. First introduced in the 1990s, it enables architects and engineers to design tall, fire-safe and beautiful wood buildings. Recent examples in the United States include the seven-story T3 building in Minneapolis, the eight-story Carbon12 building in Portland, Ore., and a six-story dormitory at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. In CanadaNorwaySwedenEngland and Australia, even taller wooden buildings are already in use….

Private industry is gearing up to provide engineered wood for more tall wood buildings here in the United States. This year a highly automated, large CLT plant opened in Washington state. Last week, the first ever CLT plant in New England was announced in Maine.

The energy embodied in the materials for new buildings around the world — mostly steel and concrete — accounts for 11 percent of global carbon emissions. Typically, coal is used to heat these materials to temperatures over 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit in the manufacturing process.”

“Transportation hubs in the inner suburbs of cities in the United States are often surrounded by multifamily housing of only five or six stories. With CLT, those buildings could be taller, creating more housing close to trains, subways and buses, and a more compact urban development pattern. That would save forests on the urban fringe from being cut to make way for more housing, and cut emissions and congestion on highways. Taller mid-rise wood buildings would also help lower the cost of housing by increasing supply.”

Frank Lowenstein, Brian Donahue & David Foster, “Let’s Fill Our Cities With Taller, Wooden Buildings,” The New York Times (Oct. 5, 2019), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/03/opinion/wood-buildings-architecture-cities.html?searchResultPosition=1.

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