Sustainable Value Creation Through Mass Timber Development in North America
Author(s)Thigpen, Andrew(Andrew C.); Masselink, Benjamin.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Real Estate. Program in Real Estate Development.
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Commercial real estate is at a crossroads; continued global population growth will necessitate significant additions to the current building stock, and new commercial space, if delivered using traditional construction methods and materials, will further increase the embodied carbon emissions of the built environment. However, there is an opportunity to mitigate the environmental impact of new development while also increasing value by employing new mass timber technology to meet the growing demand for new buildings. At the same time, approved changes to the 2021 International Building Codes (IBC) and increased investment in new production facilities will improve the scale and usability of mass timber, further reducing costs and environmental impacts. This dynamic presents developers with a unique opportunity to capitalize on changing tides and revolutionize the building industry.This paper will explore the similarities and differences between mass timber and traditional timber construction before discussing the best ways to leverage mass timber's advantages over traditional steel and concrete building systems and how to apply lessons learned from existing projects to reduce costs in the context of an evolving industry. In order to prove the viability of mass timber, this paper will utilize construction cost analyses from an existing case study that compared mass timber development to traditional cast-in-place concrete development, and it will analyze these total cost estimates on a time-adjusted returns basis. Subsequently, it will analyze consumer and corporate trends based on demographics and sustainability preferences in order to demonstrate the proven willingness of individuals and companies to pay a premium for sustainability.Based on that demand, it will then utilize leasing and valuation figures from LEED and Energy Star buildings as a basis of analyzing the superior returns mass timber delivers. Finally, a discussion of the current limitations to wide-spread adoption of mass timber will be identified, as well as means for owners to mitigate those limitations and identify the best potential markets for mass timber. With an understanding of the products, market, and existing challenges, this paper concludes with views on how the mass timber industry will evolve to facilitate wider use..
Thesis: S.M. in Real Estate Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Program in Real Estate Development in conjunction with the Center for Real Estate, September, 2020Cataloged from student-submitted PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 81-87).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Real Estate
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Real Estate. Program in Real Estate Development.