By Parimal M. Rohit and Nicole Shih
October 5, 2022 | 7:47 P.M.
The United States is now home to the world’s tallest mass timber building, a sign of how more developers are embracing the construction material that often results in a shorter development time and a smaller carbon footprint.
Cross-laminated and other mass timber products, which can be traced back to the 1990s in Europe, are increasingly an option for use in high-rise buildings in the United States.
"This type of construction is lighter, shortens the construction schedule, and is quieter — all supporting improved environmental benefits,” according to a U.S. Forest Service study on mass timber.
Funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other grants are expected to be used to support wood innovative programs to advance mass timber construction and expand wood markets as building codes change and taller timber structures are built.
The increased popularity was reflected by the 284-foot Ascent residential tower opening in July in Milwaukee, breaking the record as the world’s tallest mass timber building, surpassing Norway’s 280-foot Mjösa mixed-use structure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Ascent is a timber-concrete hybrid tower, with 19 stories of cross-laminated timber over a concrete podium for a total of 25 stories.
Even so, most of the 84 mass timber projects eight stories or taller built or under construction across the globe are in Europe, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, a nonprofit group that tracks timber properties.
An additional 55 mass timber buildings across the globe were proposed as of February, the council said.
Residential properties account for most mass timber projects built or under construction worldwide, followed by office and mixed-use properties.