Science of Sustenance – CLT Housing

Go Lean Commentary

Believe it or not, the Caribbean is the “best of times and the worst of times”. – Charles Dickens.

We have the greatest address on the planet – in terms of terrain, fauna/flora, hospitality, festivities, food, rum and cigars – but we have near-Failed-States as well, to the point that 70 percent of the educated classes have fled the region. The above Dickensian quote emerges as a strong parallel:

This phrase has been taken from the famous opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities. The novel opens as, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity. –

This age of radical opposites in the Caribbean must be assuaged. But how? How do we implement a reboot and turn-around?

The book Go Lean … Caribbean asserts that we re-focus on basic needs – food, clothing, shelter and energy – and their required delivery systems. The book quotes that we must:

  • Feed Ourselves
  • Clothe Ourselves
  • House Ourselves – in the US, the National Association of Realtors® trumpets that “housing creates jobs”.

A consideration of the science of housing solutions, is therefore important and apropos for rebooting societal engines as housing requires local jobs and building materials. So it is a study in economics, security and governance.

But rebooting the delivery of housing in this year 2017 must dictate at least one additional criteria:

Adherence to Green principles.

Enter CLT for meeting housing- shelter needs; CLT = Cross Latinate Timber. Green building practices have helped CLT’s popularity, with its combination of environmental performance, sustainability, design flexibility, cost-competitiveness and structural integrity.

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The Timber label discloses that the based material is wood; naturally grown on trees. This is as green as green gets; every tree cut down can be replaced with seedling for a new tree. But CLT is driven by forces in emerging science – see Appendix.

This is the focus of this commentary: science for rebooting the delivery of basic needs. This is 4 of 4 in this series covering: energy, food, clothing and shelter-housing. It is possible to deliver all basic needs without science. But for our modern world, the advances of science make a positive impact on daily life. So the full series for our consideration follows this pattern:

  1.    Science of Sustenance: Energy
  2.    Science of Sustenance: Food
  3.    Science of Sustenance: Clothing
  4.    Science of Sustenance: Shelter

The book Go Lean…Caribbean promotes advanced science and technology for Caribbean housing solutions, specifically trumpeting Smart Homes – home automation for security, communications, energy optimization, and house work.

CLT is also a Smart Home option, in that its a smart building material. It is strong, safe and flexible. With CLT as building blocks, structures can actually be built tall … maybe even  skyscrapers. See a related new article here:

Title: Why a Wooden Office Tower may Symbolize the Future of Multi Story Construction
By: Patrick Sisson

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“Office building goes up in Minneapolis” isn’t exactly a headline built to blow up Twitter. But the seven-story, 210,000-square-foot T3 commercial structure that broke ground at the end of July in the city’s North Loop neighborhood isn’t just any office.  A new home for the Hines development firm, T3 (Timber, Technology and Transit) will be the first tall-timber building of its type in the United States, a new spin on architecture utilizing a material that’s been a bedrock of construction for millennia. According to architect Michael Green, when it’s finished in late 2016, T3 will challenge assumptions many hold about wooden structures, and represent a massive technological leap beyond the old-school timber warehouses that surround it. Green, one of a number of architects worldwide specializing in tall-timber construction, sees buildings like this as part of a vanguard of sustainable construction technology that will be called upon to create taller and taller buildings going forward. With so much of our energy footprint going towards constructing and maintaining buildings, it only makes sense to move away from resource-intensive steel.

“It’s the beauty of what we’re doing here, incorporating modern technology with good, old ideas,” he says. “We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re bringing back a very good wheel.

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Green’s eponymous Canadian firm is perhaps best known for the seven-story Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, British Columbia, currently the tallest timber building in North America. For the T3 project, he’s been forced to start with a concrete foundation to meet code requirements, and the skeleton will be steel, but the vast majority of the structure will be wood sourced from the West Coast. The core and floorplates will be made from huge panels of engineered lumber that have been nailed and glued together, with support provided by engineered wooden columns (pressed together to replicate the load-bearing abilities previously provided by massive beams cut from old growth timber). The panels’ density actually means they won’t burn through completely, instead forming a protective layer of charcoal. It’s a marriage of old and new techniques, he says, that will provide a much more energy-efficient building due to the natural source materials. And, as opposed to concrete-and-steel structures that often draw in the cold, this wooden structure will provide insulation, a godsend in a cold climate such as Minneapolis.

While Europe has traditionally been the leader in re-developing timber as a building material for tall structures—The Stadthaus, a nine-story building in London built in 2008 with cross-laminated timber, was one of the forerunners of the modern wooden building boom—Green feels North America is starting to catch up.

“Height is happening, but it’s a slow process,” he says.  “There are a few projects in the U.S. being considered, and you’re starting to see innovation creep up.”

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While there are scores of projects utilizing cross-laminated timber and heavy wood construction, one of the projects Green is most excited about is the recent $60M forestry school expansion at Oregon State University dedicated to advancing the technology behind timber construction. The concept reinforces the main ecological and economical advantages of the practice, the ability to harvest renewable resources for construction while concurrently redeveloping rural economies. As timber buildings get higher in cities across the country, different areas, such as the seismic West Coast or windy Midwest, will require unique systems and designs to start rising above 20 floors. Developing and sharing regional knowledge between builders, regulators and architects will be key to future acceptance, still a barrier to more widespread adoption.

“The U.S. government investment in building science technology represents .0001 percent of total innovation investment,” he says. “That’s a statistic that needs to be shouted from the roof tops.”

While the industry is just starting to get off the ground here, Green and his firm are aiming skyward. A perfect example is their recent proposal for a 35-story tower in Paris. Set to be submitted after the contentious battle over the Herzog & de Meuron tower, the first tall building of any type approved in Paris in decades, the MGA plan was abandoned. But that was because it was tall and in Paris, not tall and made of wood.

“We have a new means of building that can help us realize a new era of architecture, a post-climate era,” he says. “As this develops, we’ll see how this changes the look of our cities and buildings.

Related stories:

Source: – Urban Design Online Site – (Posted 08-12-2017; retrieved 02-02-2017) from:


Appendix – About

Since 2004, Curbed has been an integral part of the online housing industry, and by providing analysis, coverage, and insight, we apply an editorial lens to the onslaught of information. Unlike a glossy shelter magazine, we see homes, architecture, interior design, cities, neighborhoods, and properties for sale as related points on a spectrum. An artfully styled home shoot isn’t the be-all-end-of-all in the life of a residence: It’s one station along a continuously evolving timeline.
Source: Retrieved February 3, 2017 from

A consideration of CLT raises a lot of questions:

  • What would CLT Housing mean for the Caribbean region?
  • Are CLT-made homes strong-safe for the tropical zone’s threat of hurricanes?
  • Are they strong-safe for earthquake threats?
  • Do they fit in with the traditional decor of Caribbean neighborhoods?


  • CLT Housing in the Caribbean – This region is not known for tall skyscrapers, so 20 – 30 maximum stories would be ideal for urban areas.
  • Strong-safe for hurricanes – The options for 3, 5 or 7 layered timber blocks are just as strong as concrete and steel. These structures have been tested and graded for Category 4 storms.
  • Strong-safe for earthquakes – Wood is energy-absorbent; this flexibility allows buildings to withstand quakes better than concrete, brick or steel.
  • Traditional Caribbean Decor – The classic-colonial look of the region featured wooded homes and sharp colors; this is ideal for CLT.

The book Go Lean … Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), with a charter to elevate Caribbean society by optimizing the delivery of the region’s basic needs. With 144 missions, the dynamics of housing is identified specifically as one of the missions for the Go Lean/CU roadmap; so too the quest for Pre-Fab housing. The book highlights the CU’s prime directives, as described by these statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines – including housing solutions – in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

There are a lot of economic issues associated with the subject of building materials; this subject reflects heavily on the local availability of natural resources. The Caribbean member-states – many of them small islands – do not have a lot of iron ore for steel and limited quarry areas for concrete-cement. But trees are an inexhaustible resource. So a confederated union in the region or a cooperative could be a good solution for installing a factory to produce CLT products. See the manufacturing process  in the Appendix VIDEO below.

The Go Lean roadmap, and the foregoing article, calls for the region to double-down its efforts to ensure a quality delivery for housing and building materials. This need was identified early in the Go Lean book, in the opening pronouncement in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 14), as follows:

xxvi. Whereas the Caribbean region must have new jobs to empower the engines of the economy and create the income sources for prosperity, and encourage the next generation to forge their dreams right at home, the Federation must therefore foster the development of new industries, like prefabricated housing .

The Go Lean … Caribbean roadmap constitutes a change for the region, a plan to consolidate 30 member-states into a Trade Federation with the tools/techniques to bring immediate change to the region to benefit one and all member-states. The roadmap calls for collaboration of the region’s housing needs at a CU federal agency. Though there is a separation-of-powers mandate between the member-states and federal agencies, the CU can still wield influence in this area by consolidating the purchasing of raw materials and equipment – think Group Purchasing Organizations. The CU empowerments would also allow for better coordination with commercial entities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international stakeholders.

The book details the community ethos needed to effect change in this area, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the region’s housing solutions:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Choose For Greatest Benefits Despite Scarcity Page 21
Community Ethos – All Choices Involve Costs Page 21
Community Ethos – Economic Systems Influence Individual Choices Page 21
Community Ethos – Voluntary Trade Creates Wealth Page 21
Community Ethos – Lean Operations – Group Purchase Organization Page 24
Strategy – Vision – Confederate 30 Member-States Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Build and foster local economic engines Page 45
Strategy – Mission – Embrace the advances of technology Page 46
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Separation of Powers – Department of Housing and Urban Authority Page 83
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better – Housing solutions Page 131
Planning – Ways to Mitigate Failed-States Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Housing – Smart Homes Page 161
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage Natural Resources Page 183
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Develop a Pre-Fab Housing Industry Page 207
Appendix – Housing Solution: Pre-Fab Homes Page 289

This Go Lean book asserts that there is a direct correlation between housing and the economy. This viewpoint has been previously detailed in Go Lean blog/commentaries, as sampled here: Lessons Learned: Detroit demolishes thousands of structures Pre-Fab Housing and Elder-Care Conjunction Tesla unveils super-battery to power homes Study: Homes Marketed via the MLS Sell for More The Crisis in Black Homeownership Student debt holds back many would-be home buyers

CLT methodology is a scientific advance for green building materials. Green is important for the Caribbean region. Among the benefits are the consequences, the mitigations for Climate Change. Some of the threats for this region are hurricanes; as of late, with global warming the storms have been more destructive. A 1 to 2 degree difference in ocean temperature can mean the difference of a Category 2 storm versus Category 3. So CLT buildings will help to assuage greenhouse gases and protect the homes from destructive storms. These are better protections for earthquakes too.

Win – Win! This is the effect of advancing the science of sustenance, for all our basic needs: energy, food, clothing & shelter.

All of these scientific solutions are the new best-practices. They make this Go Lean/CU roadmap conceivable, believable and achievable.

Everyone in Caribbean – residents, homeowners, home-builders, governments – are hereby urged to lean-in to the Go Lean roadmap for regional, societal empowerment. 🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEO – CLT production line from Kallesoe Machinery –

Published on Apr 15, 2015 – This massive high frequency press from Kallesoe Machinery represents the most efficient installation on the marked for the production of CLT elements. The press is a highly efficient production unit with high capacity and very short pressing times.

This CLT press can press endless CLT elements up to 20 meters long and 3.2 meters wide.

  • Category – Science & Technology
  • License – Standard YouTube License
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  • Aspire says:

    Here in New York City, we are also starting to see the fruits of forward-thinking developers and architects. 475 West 18th Street, a ten-story, high-end condominium building with a wood structure won a competition sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). An incredible example of the potential for wood modular house construction this project left timber columns and beams exposed where possible. It was a deliberate aesthetic move that will showcase the building’s timber construction as a selling feature. The project, designed by Shop Architects, is a testing ground for the architects in order to use CLT on other projects.

    Both Forte and 475 West 18th Street are excellent examples of the capabilities of CLT and mass timber products. However, they may only represent humble beginnings to a larger, taller trend. In Vancouver, an 18-story dormitory at the University of British Columbia recently topped out and a 24-story mixed-used hotel cross laminated timber companies and apartment project is being developed in Vienna, Austria. In addition, research completed by SOM in 2013 and 2014 found that a 42-story wood high-rise is feasible with current technologies.

    A tower of this height would reduce its carbon footprint by upwards of 75% when compared to a concrete or steel tower of the same height. These current and future tests will be important for the CLT and mass timber industry as economies of scale continue to reduce clt manufacturers and material waste while increasing carbon sequestration in comparison to typical high-rise construction. All projects point to a prosperous future for CLT and the potential for a game-changing material in the construction industry.

    Laminated Timber Solutions is an industry acknowledged supplier of large span and highly complex load-bearing structures CLT building system in glued laminated timber elements. We engineer, design, manufacture and install enhanced timber structures for major construction projects.

    Contractors, architects and builders have benefited from our expertise in this specialist sector for over 60 years. Our impressive track record in the field of engineering, production Modern CLT House and installation enables us to deliver sports complexes, multi family residential developments, municipal and commercial buildings that demand the highest structural or aesthetic needs.

    Laminated Timber Solutions exclusively specialise in advanced glued timber construction US Cross Laminated Timber House elements. Glue laminated timber is a composition of solid section timber elements combined to deliver specific engineering performance.

    We offer three different glued timber solutions for the construction of commercial, municipal residential, retail, logistics and agricultural buildings Cross Laminated Timber Building glued laminated timber (GLULAM) and cross-laminated timber (CLT). In addition, Laminated Timber Solutions is the exclusive Benelux, French and UK licensee for Kielsteg, an advanced large span engineered beam element.

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