Increasingly, the next generation of multifamily tenants, office workers and students value the unique and authentic in their homes and workspaces. Informed by mobile technology and driven by a sense of creative place-making, buyers and tenants are especially drawn to the pockets of our built environment exhibiting warmth, organic finishes, a connection to the past (but with modern amenities) and aesthetics.
While adaptive reuse is fulfilling some of this demand, the bulk of the opportunities is in new construction. As both a structural and finish material, wood is uniquely able to bring old and new together. Wood construction can create the feel of a rehabilitated vintage warehouse but with modern finishes and state-of-the-art building performance: reduced noise, high air quality and compact, highly efficient HVAC technology. In projects like the T3 building in Minneapolis, this translates into higher occupancy, commanding higher lease rates.
Wood’s market opportunities are also enhanced by its efficiency: reduced foundation size, speed to market and higher ceilings without increased floor-to-floor height, to name just a few. New research from the University of Oregon and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows the measurable benefit that more sunlit, open spaces have on well-being and productivity. Wood structures’ environmental performance (reduced carbon footprint) can also make them more marketable and better suited to meet the aggressive carbon-emission reduction goals being established in major markets like New York City and California.
Thanks to innovations such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber (NLT), glue-laminated timber (glulam) and prefab systems, wood is capturing the imaginations of both leading building professionals and developers who are leveraging the material to accelerate ingenuity, build for long-term value, create more marketable projects and design for the future. If you’re interested in using wood to your professional advantage, a good place to begin is to learn more about its performance properties and capabilities. From there, you can explore wood structural systems and discover how wood can help you fulfill your project vision—and ultimately contribute to a sustainability certification.