Build in a Greener Way - Mass Timber

alliance7 Construction Inc.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

Have you imagined the future of our world? Our future is made of mass timber!

In response to the push for sustainable building practices in the construction industry, the use of mass timber as the main building material in construction can be viewed as one of the solutions for climate change. The steel and concrete production releases a large amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) which may give rise to air pollution and the greenhouse effect. The use of mass timber can help to build the society in a greener way by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helps to achieve sustainable development goals (SDG) of sustainable cities and communities, climate action and industry, innovation and infrastructure.

Author

Sharen Chung

Sharen Chung

School

York University- Schulich School of Business

York University- Schulich School of Business

Professor

Charles Cho

Charles Cho

Innovation

In view of increasing concern over sustainability, mass timber, the use of engineered wood as structural components for buildings may appear to be a greener choice than steel and concrete. Hybrid mass timber superstructure comprised of glulam columns, use of delta beam steel sections and nail laminated timber (NLT) deck assembly. "This innovation is the result of the combined elements to one building application providing the structural characteristics of concrete and steel along with the environmental benefits of mass timber."

"The concept for the hybrid mass timber project started off as a desire to develop a post beam building on today’s available materials and technology." Hybrid mass timber will be used by alliance7 in the Wade project and the new building will be located in Toronto’s Bloordale Village. It will be the tallest modern mass timber office or commercial building in Canada. The new mass timber building targets LEED Gold certification to suit the growing demands and needs of new age industrial workers. The Wade project has some unique attributes that will provide a clear distinction to the building, including exterior cladding comprised of a folded plain curtain wall system and a bike storage feature inspired by origami. The new building also emphasized on relating to the community by establishing a distinctive portal connecting cyclists and pedestrians from the GO Barrie line corridor encompassing an elevated Metrolinx line and linear park with a multi-use trail.

Build in a Greener Way - Mass Timber

Wade Project with hybrid mass timber structure

Inspiration

"The innovation emerged as the developer was looking to construct a mid-rise office with the look and feel of a 1920’s post beam building based on today’s design thought process and technological advancements."

“The developer sought to create a meaningful addition to the office space market, with hybrid mass timber being the key differentiating factor.”

The purpose of the building started with the developer’s vision on a current interpretation of post beam construction in today’s technologically advanced marketplace. The developer engaged strategic partners to develop the concept into an executable means of innovation. This was a collaborative process and the project team consisted of construction manager alliance7 and mechanical and electrical engineering consultants.

Overall impact

The choice of hybrid mass timber structure achieves sustainable development goals and generates benefits to the business, society and environment. Mass timber can be considered as an alternative to steel or concrete which their production emits more greenhouse gases than wood.

The short-term benefits of this innovation are mainly the reduction in carbon dioxide and construction waste with operational efficiencies. Once the project is completed, being the tallest mass timber commercial building can help to showcase the benefits and advantages of a greener choice which may lead to long term benefits of a more sustainable world.

In the long run, the adoption of hybrid mass timber structure can aid in raising awareness of others and encourage them to consider alternative choices and adopt sustainable practices in the construction industry. As little changes make a big difference, it is important for all of us to start adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives and incorporate the sustainable mindset in decision-making processes.

With the innovative use of hybrid mass timber as the main building material, it helps to address sustainable development goals (SDG) of industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, climate action.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

The use of hybrid mass timber helps to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. alliance7 is one of the pioneers in the construction industry and promotes the adoption of environmentally sound technologies and industrial practices for other companies to follow.

Sustainable cities and communities

The greener choice of hybrid mass timber enables the construction of sustainable and resilient buildings and facilitates the development of sustainable cities and communities. It also reduces the adverse environmental impact of cities by improving air quality with a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate action

The utilization of hybrid mass timber as the main construction material manages to integrate climate change measures into strategies and planning through the reduction in carbon emissions, construction waste and energy consumption. The new hybrid mass timber building with the impact of climate change mitigation also serves the purpose of education of greener choices and raising awareness of the general public and other companies in the industry to inspire the adoption of sustainable practices.

Business benefit

"The hybrid mass timber building methodology provides enhanced attention in the office rental market, benefiting tenant interest and engagement. It afforded the developer a clear differentiation in the office rental marketplace due to the unique attributes of the look and feel of mass timber."

The innovative use of hybrid mass timber with targeted LEED Gold certification provides a competitive advantage to the company and helps alliance7 to stand out in the industry and facilitate business growth by attracting new customers with sustainable construction projects. The sustainable business practice can further reinforce the brand image, company culture and core values of alliance7 regarding innovation area that they are forward-looking and routinely seek out new practices that benefit their partners and their people. As employees nowadays consider the company culture and their sustainable practices to decide the place to work, it helps alliance7 to attract new talent and retain them.

The use of mass timber also helps to expedite completion of the construction with the efficient erection of the superstructure as the components will be pre-fabricated and delivered on demand. One of the business benefits for pre-fabrication is construction waste reduction as usually only 20-30% of construction and demolition waste are recycled. With pre-fabrication and delivery on demand, it reduces the damage of materials in transportation, excess order, installation loss and construction traffic. Assembling prefabricated panels on-site can facilitate cost reduction with better quality control, shorter project timelines and safer construction sites.

Social and environmental benefit

With the greener choice of the hybrid mass timber structure, it “provides unique benefits to people working within the space by providing a healthier environment (less material off-gassing, etc.), presence of common earth elements and warmth of wood which results in a benefit to end users’ well-being.”

The hybrid mass timber building type enables a reduction in carbon emissions (CO2), mitigation of embodied energy and reduction of construction waste with enhanced manufacturing efficiency. "The primary innovation is further extended by the LEED design aspect of the project as this results in an extension of energy consumption reduction."

Mass timber is tested to be strong and fire-resistant, it lasts longer in fire tests than the construction code requires. As concrete buildings are approximately 5 times heavier than mass timber buildings, using mass timber can reduce the foundation size and embodied energy.

Mass timber is generally considered to be a long-lasting durable material and a critical carbon storage tool for construction. The steel or concrete production emits more carbon dioxide than mass timber as wood is naturally produced and it can serve the purpose of storing carbon dioxide as they “inhale” CO2. The reduction in greenhouse gases, construction waste and energy consumption helps to deal with climate change.

Making a greener choice on construction materials can help to build a sustainable and better world for the next generations. With all our efforts combined, we can make a meaningful difference in the world.

Interview

Aaron Bruno, Executive Director

Photo of interviewee

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alliance7 Construction Inc.

alliance7 Construction Inc.

Toronto, Ontario, CA

Business Website: alliance7.ca

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

alliance7 Construction Inc. is a Canadian company founded by Simon DeGroot in 2015 with a vision of providing a special experience to their customers with everything they do. Their core values purposely spell out the word INSPIRE: Intuitive, Number 7, Sincere, People, Innovation, Reliable, Energy. alliance7 is dedicated to creating an environment where people can feel inspired and make alliance7 as their first choice to partner with.

alliance7 offers world class services including construction management, owners’ representative and design-build services which are customized to meet clients’ needs. Their team with industry expertise and more than 40 years’ experience to deliver tailored and high quality services in the commercial, institutional, hospitality, retail and multi-unit residential markets.

alliance7 is committed to building in a greener way for sustainability and it is one of the pioneers to utilize mass timber in construction in Canada. Their new Wade Project will be the tallest modern mass timber office or commercial building in Canada. The use of mass timber can help to build a greener world for everyone.