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‘Plywood On Steroids’ Holds Great Potential For Northwest Economy

Oregon and Southwest Washington are well-positioned to become a manufacturing hub for cross-laminated timber — an innovative building product sometimes called “plywood on steroids” — according to a new study prepared by Oregon BEST.

The 110-page analysis found Oregon has the potential to create 2,000 to 6,100 direct jobs making cross-laminated timber and related mass timber products, which use adhesives and layered wood to create massive panels used as walls, floors and roofs, or beams. Mid-rise office and residential buildings are now being made with CLT, providing a dramatically lower carbon footprint than buildings using concrete and steel. Some high-rise projects using CLT are in the works.

Studies show CLT also cuts costs, mostly because construction takes less time. That cost advantage is projected to grow. “The cost of wood as a building material and as the raw material for CLT is expected to stay stable in the near future, while concrete and steel prices are forecast to raise with their relative energy prices and carbon costs,” the report states.

Oregon BEST, which commissioned the study along with partners, is a state-supported nonprofit that works closely with academia to nurture the state’s clean-tech industry.

CLT was developed in Europe, and European and Canadian companies got into the field before their U.S. counterparts. But D.R. Johnson became the first U.S. company certified to manufacture CLT in 2015, and is making it at its Southern Oregon plant in Riddle.

From Sustainable Life:

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