What’s Old is New Again: Sustainable Building with Wood

Posted by Brett McCutcheon on Jan 2, 2021 8:15:00 AM
Brett McCutcheon

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The idea of using wood as a construction material is not new. Indeed, wood has been used for building purposes for thousands of years. But from the late 1800s, there was a transition toward the use of steel, concrete, and bricks as these materials were considered to be safer and more stable. However, in recent years, the use of wood has reemerged on the scene in the construction industry.

Using Mass Timber Construction

The resurgence of wood construction can be attributed to economic, environmental, and structural reasons, as well as a new way of using wood. Mass timber, short for massive timber, involves creating large pieces and panels of wood – with exceptional stability and strength -- from smaller pieces of wood, usually pine, spruce, or fir, but can also include birch, ash, and beech.

There are several different types of mass timber products, such as glue-laminated (glulam) beams, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), nail-laminated timber (NLT) and dowel-laminated timber (DLT). The most common form is cross-laminated timber (CLT) and it’s creating a lot of new possibilities in architecture and construction.

Benefits of Wood Construction

Insulating Properties

When it comes to construction, energy efficiency is a factor that’s impossible to ignore. It’s important to consider using building materials that can help minimize energy consumption. This is where wood comes in handy. Wood is an excellent insulating material, therefore, minimizes the loss of heat from a building.

Environmentally Friendly

Protecting the environment is a high priority across many industries these days. The construction industry is also leaning toward environmentally friendly construction materials, and wood – and mass timber -- is one of the most appropriate options. For instance, wood is a carbon-neutral construction material. In other words, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the environment, and this has the effect of reducing carbon emission. Although cutting down trees for construction might be seen as a threat to the environment, it is possible to harvest trees sustainably. Younger trees are better at absorbing carbon dioxide than older trees, meaning cutting down older trees and replacing them with younger ones is good for the environment.


Wood is one of the most commonly available building materials. Compared to other building materials such as steel, it is relatively affordable. In a nutshell, when looking for the most economical building material, wood is the best bet.


Another benefit that is associated with wood and mass timber construction is beauty. There are many different types of wood with different appearance, color, and acoustics. CLT mass timber can be used to make floors, walls, ceilings, and entire buildings, enhancing the structural appearance. Wood can also be easily painted in any color to meet specific design goals. Varnishing and waxing are other affordable options to enhance the natural appearance of wood.

Building with Wood Calls for Wood Nails

If you are building a wooden structure, you can get better results by using wooden nails. LignoLoc® wood nails are better than ordinary nails for several reasons. Unlike steel nails, wooden nails won’t rust, resulting in a longer life for outdoor structures or those built in high moisture environments. Additionally, LignoLoc® wooden nails developed by the BECK Group are resistant to fungal infestation, and thanks to lignin welding, the nails have extremely high holding power. Furthermore, by using CLT mass timber and LignoLoc® wooden nails for construction, contractors can build completely green structures, benefitting the environment.

Topics: lignoloc


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