Wooden buildings on the rise
New innovative solutions in wooden building components have allowed wood to enter into new construction end-uses traditionally dominated by concrete and steel. Massive wood elements open the way for taller wooden high-rise buildings than ever before.
Part of the bioeconomy, Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions, and paper globally. Our materials are renewable, reusable, and recyclable, and form the building blocks for a range of innovative solutions that can help replace products based on fossil fuels and other non-renewable materials.
Stora Enso’s Wood Products division provides versatile wood-based solutions for building and housing. Our product range covers all areas of construction, including massive wood elements and wood components. We also offer sawn timber goods, biocomposites and pellets for sustainable heating.
LOOKING UP TO SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
Entering a space, many of us look down or straight ahead. If we can tear our eyes away from our devices and look out, even up, then we’ll probably see the result of one of this decade’s major design trends: exposed beams and rafters, or rib panels.
These open ceilings can brighten an office, cozy-up a school building, or bring a rustic charm to modern residential construction. While including them in a room design used to be costly, weighty, and involve steel or concrete, Stora Enso is now bringing a renewable alternative in rib panels.
Rib panels, the structures that actually make the floors and roofs of a building, are traditionally made from concrete. Stora Enso has recently launched rib panels made of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), which offer architectural freedom and structural performance.
In schools of design, wood represents innovation and creativity. It brings warmth and elegance to a space. However, wood can be perceived as a material only for decorative solutions and small scale construction.
Stora Enso’s CLT method is lightweight, cost-competitive and environmentally sound – and fully suitable for commercial, industrial and residential construction. The rib panels are ready to install so there’s no dust during construction. The CLT rib panels have superior strength, stability and high load-bearing capacity. The space between ribs can be used to route service lines or other installations, making it an ideal choice for public buildings.
In addition, the rib panels allow for architectural flexibility over the lifetime of a space. By choosing a rib panel, a row of columns and beams can easily be omitted, increasing open plan space and therefore floor plan and usage options.
The good spanning capability is also a benefit for buildings with car parks or other similar spaces.
Additionally, as a construction material, wood can do something that competing materials can’t: wood grows back!
Spirit of innovation
Manchester’s latest timber framed pavilion, home of the new Ivy Restaurant, is a celebration of ambition and green values. Pushing the boundaries of timber construction and spanning four floors from brasserie to roof garden, it uses Stora Enso’s CLT rib panels for the floors and CLT for the walls. Timber contractor was B&K Structures.
INVESTING IN INNOVATIVE BUILDING
The rib panel offering is based on Stora Enso’s Glulam and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) products. The new rib panel production line is located next to the CLT production in Stora Enso’s Ybbs mill in Austria. Mathieu Robert, Director for Building Solutions, says the benefits are numerous:
“Our rib panels are designed to provide long span building components with high-load bearing capacity, suitable for open and highly flexible floor plans. Additionally, made in a climate-controlled environment, the tailor-made rib panels can be transported to building site just in time for assembly, saving time and ensuring high quality,” Robert says.
BENEFITS TO BUILDERS
CLT rib panels are prefabricated and lightweight. This makes the work flow quicker from delivery to assembly compared to other construction methods. No forming or curing time, no special equipment needed. Using CLT rib panels means no noise and dust pollution normally associated with construction using non-renewable materials.
There are fewer pieces to install, so construction programs save time in preliminary steps, focusing instead on other construction activities. Long span floors with CLT rib panels can reduce the number of components to be installed by up to 20–30% keeping the construction costs down.
While a long span layout may have a higher overall frame cost, efficiencies in other areas of the construction can compensate for this and bring savings in total costs. In poor soil conditions, a reduced loading from lower self-weight will help keep foundation works to a minimum. The capability of CLT rib panels, spanning over long distances, will increase the foundation grid and therefore reduce the total foundation cost.
Best of all, the rib panels meet the demand of creating spaces that are stylish, elegant, and timeless.