Skip to toolbar

The IHBE is excited to be a recipient of a second US Forest Service Wood Innovation Grant to overcome market barriers to increase the use of structural mass timber in healthcare environments. Structural mass timber products, such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), represent a sustainable alternative to the negative environmental impacts of concrete and steel in low- to mid-rise construction. In particular, CLT is well-suited for use in the growing US outpatient healthcare real estate market, since exposure to natural materials such as wood has been shown to have health benefits, and use of CLT can reduce costs by combining structural capabilities with a desirable finish aesthetic.

Although mass timber construction represents a sustainable alternative to traditional structural options in the US architects and developers have encountered market barriers related to growth of mold and potential for biological deterioration in response to wetting. Microbial overgrowth after wetting is of particular concern in healthcare. However, our previous pilot work indicated that viable bacterial load is low on dry wood surfaces in comparison with other common construction materials; moreover, other studies in healthcare, food production/preparation, and laboratory environments have concluded that wood performs as well, or better, than plastic, vinyl, or steel surfaces.
To stay up to date with this research check back to view our project page. To find out about our preliminary findings as we conduct this research, join our consortium!