Every material has an environmental footprint. Mass Plywood Panel, a new entrant in the mass timber category, has the potential to revolutionize the mass timber sector. The environmental consequences of producing Mass Ply Panels (MPP) are carried forward into the life cycle of products made from it, such as wooden structures.
Please see our Lifecycle Analysis for a detailed examination the environmental impacts of our specific Mass Ply Products.
Wood uses far less energy during primary manufacturing than any other structural material, such as concrete and steel. During its life it has better thermal performance, and at the end of its life-cycle wood is recyclable, reusable, and reclaimable.
Since it takes less energy to produce wood products compared to concrete and steel, the manufacturing process also generates less carbon. Additionally, trees are one of the most advanced carbon sequestering vehicles on earth! As trees grow they sequester carbon in their cells, which is retained after harvest and through the life of the wood product.
Studies show the volume of wood harvested each year accounts for only 20% of new annual growth. Concrete and steel are finite resources.
Lumber-based Mass Timber products utilize a large volume of 2×6 and 2×8 products which require a larger diameter log than veneer-based products. In veneer manufacturing, veneer is peeled from a log on a lathe which matches the physical properties of the tree. Lumber attempts to cut a rectangular board from a round tree, which creates additional waste.
In lumber-based Mass Timber products defects can significantly affect the performance of the end product. Defects are therefor often cut from the board and pieces finger-jointed back together, generating another point of waste. In veneer-based products the defects are distributed throughout the product, and this distribution allows the natural defect to be retained without affecting performance.
Since our Mass Ply products typically perform better by volume than other Mass Timber products, less fiber is used in the design and construction of Mass Ply buildings.
Formaldehyde Resins and VOCs. All resins Freres uses to produce the MPP are formaldehyde-based. Formaldehyde is a Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOC’s occur in nature. Manufactured items produce formaldehyde which is a concern. However, evidence indicates that formaldehyde from engineered wood products, such as plywood is not a concern.
The California Air Research Board (CARB) exempts plywood from meeting its stringent standards. CARB produces a highly regarded regulatory standard commonly adopted by the many green rating programs such as LEED and National Green Building Council.
The engineered wood manufacturing process lowers VOC’s. Veneer is even lower than lumber. The veneer for MPP is dried to a lower moisture content than lumber which results in lower formaldehyde emission for veneer when compared to lumber. Because the veneer is hot pressed, that further lower emission from the panels.
Formaldehyde breaks down easily. When emitted in the air it can take less than a few hours to break down.
MPP has the potential maximize the points for your next LEED certified building. MPP inherently aligns with the U.S Green Building Council’s (USBG) principles with its reduced energy capabilities and its environmental benefits. Freres is currently taking steps to ensure your LEED project gets the maximum points from the use of MPP (See Life-Cycle Assessment)