The possible future of the UP wood industry
Many Yoopers are employed by the wood product industry. Companies such as Verso and LP help sustain our economy and provide us with products we use in our everyday life. One way to help an industry thrive is through new innovations and the wood product industry may have just that on the horizon.
Cross-laminated timber, or CLT for short, is a wood product that has only recently started to be adopted in the United States. CLT is popular in Europe and Canada as a building material. CLT is a wood panel made from gluing layers of solid wood together for a lightweight and sturdy panel. These panels are quick to assemble and are great load-bearing structures. They have warm, exposed wood aesthetics and are fire resistant due to their solid large structure. Even if there was a fire, the panels still could stand without risking structural collapse due to charring. Buildings made from CLT are environmentally friendly by sequestering carbon and keeping it out of the atmosphere.
Cross-laminated timber currently is being used for a STEM teaching and learning facility at Michigan State University. The building will be four stories high and will be the first to use CLT in Michigan.
With the Upper Peninsula’s vast forests and well-entrenched timber industry, the area would be a prime candidate for the first CLT mill in the United States. This mill can provide even more jobs and set Michigan apart economically with a unique product that looks to have rising demand in the near future. The earlier we adopt CLT, the greater the returns we will see.