Only in a roundabout way does this subject relate to erosion and sediment control—but it’s an interesting development that will potentially change the face of construction in the years ahead.
A major architectural firm has endorsed the idea of high-rise buildings constructed from wood. The Chicago-based firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, known for designing skyscrapers from steel and concrete, has developed a system that uses “mass timber”—thick slabs and columns created from smaller pieces of wood laminated together—to create stable tall structures. About 70% of the resulting building is actually made from wood, while the remainder, including the foundation, is concrete.
Architects say the wooden buildings will actually have a lower carbon footprint than traditional ones. Producing concrete and steel creates a lot of carbon dioxide, whereas using the wood intact allows it to hold onto the carbon it contains. Using wood, they say, helps offset carbon emissions from other building elements as well as from the operation of the completed building itself. Although building codes may need to change in some cities, which generally limit the height of wood structures, the architects say the buildings are safe, earthquake resilient, and able to meet the same fire safety codes as concrete and steel skyscrapers.
Finding enough wood might be a limiting factor, but the firm says that if the timber comes from sustainably harvested forests there should be little environmental impact. In the short term, one potential source of wood in North America is the fir trees that are dying anyway from a beetle infestation.
A 90-foot-high wooden building currently under construction in Prince George, British Columbia, will be the tallest of its kind once completed.
StormCon Abstract Deadline Is November 14
StormCon, the North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Exposition, is now seeking abstracts for presentations at StormCon 2014.
The conference will take place August 3 – 7, 2014, in Portland, OR. Abstracts are due November 14, 2013.
We are seeking abstracts in seven conference tracks:
* BMP Case Studies
* Green Infrastructure
* Stormwater Program Management
* Water-Quality Monitoring
* Industrial Stormwater Management
* Advanced Research Topics
* Coastal Protection
More information on the conference and the individual tracks is available at www.StormCon.com, along with an online abstract submittal form.