San Francisco Pioneers the Use of Mass Timber to Initiate Progressive Changes

The San Francisco Bay Area has once again proven itself as an important agent of progressive changes by bringing back wood as primary building material. The current 21st century projections include the revival of the wood material to make construction sites much safer. The promotion of replacing concrete and steel with mass timber is supported by studies that show the cost-saving benefits as exemplified by the recently completed 1 De Haro, San Francisco City’s first mass timber high rise.

Although wood per se is expensive, the cost-efficient benefits of mass timber are realized in terms of shorter period of construction, less use of energy and fuel in its production as a construction material, more sustainable than concrete and steel, and can perform better in seismic zones.

Not to forget to mention that its aesthetic qualities are more pleasing than the seemingly austere and intimidating facade of concrete buildings. Additionally, the cross-laminated timber materials are lighter as opposed to the steel bars that often force trailer trucks to request assistance from heavy duty towing providers in managing the hilly parts of the Bay Area valleys.

About 1 De Haro in San Francisco. CA

Mass timber, specifically cross-laminated timber (CLT), has been gaining momentum as the primary building material of the 21st century. The 1 De Haro commercial building located in the Design District of San Francisco provides a case example for the Architectural/Engineering/Construction (A/E/C) industry when looking to build future mixed-material, multi-story edifices in California.

The project began in 2019 and was completed in early 2021, proving that safe and speedy construction projects are achievable, without compromising the quality and integrity of a building structure.

The 1 De Haro mixed-material concept came about after the changes in International Building Code included allowing the use of mass timber in constructing a multi-story building of six stories, up to a maximum of 18. The change increased opportunities to use wood as main materials for apartments, offices and other commercial buildings.

About Mass Timber

Mass timber are solid, engineered wood that form panels and cross-laminated timber as bearers of structural loads. They are described as engineered wood products because each piece consists of several layers of wood that are laminated and then compressed together to form a cross-laminated timber (CLT).

As building materials, CLT utilize boards pieced together at right angles to one another, and thereafter laminated to form wood panels ideal for assembling walls, floors and roofs. assemblies.

Proponents of mass timber highlight sustainability, cost efficiency, speed of completion and aesthetically-pleasing qualities as the immediate advantages over concrete and steel materials.

The perceived greater benefits of mass timber use are the long-term environment-friendly impact of the materials. That is in consideration of the heavy duty towing and hauling of steel bars, sand, gravel and cement bags from point of origin to their destinations.

According to Yale researchers and from the University of Washington, emissions related to their transportation can reach a range of about 14% to 31%. Aside from weighing only ⅕ of the weight of steel or concrete, pre-fabricating mass timber materials utilizes fewer resources than that of processing steel or traditional wood.

California’s support of mass timber use is aligned with other programs and initiatives to further reduce the state’s carbon footprint in light of the increasing devastating effects of climate change.