Cross-Laminated Timber Supports Taller Buildings, Bigger Markets for Wood Construction

CLT production capacity to triple by 2024, finds new study of innovative building material

Boston, October 10, 2018 (Press Release) – Wood buildings are getting bigger, supported by eco-friendly and cost-effective cross-laminated timber, or CLT. Its strength makes CLT an alternative to steel and concrete structural components, offering a more sustainable – and potentially cheaper – option for commercial and residential construction. The growth potential for CLT is explored by the Outlook for the North American Cross-Laminated Timber Market, new from RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.

“The ability to build a wood-framed skyscraper is already here, but CLT construction has to make financial sense as well,” said Steven Honeyman, RISI Economist for Wood Products and author of the new RISI report. “Now the building sector is starting to realize the economic benefits of CLT in large-scale structures, which could revolutionize how buildings are typically made,” said Honeyman.

CLT panels are typically cut to size and prefinished, simplifying construction and reducing on-site labor costs. “The potential for CLT to reduce on-site building costs could be a game-changer,” said Honeyman. “Reduced construction time and reduced crew sizes saves builders money. This is especially important today given the shortage of skilled construction labor.”

Cross-laminated timber components are made from interwoven layers of kiln-dried boards, which are glued together into a solid panel. The resulting parts are strong enough to span large distances and support heavier loads than conventional lumber. CLT retains the environmental benefits of wood-based construction, including renewability and lower energy use throughout the manufacturing process.

Currently four mills in the US and Canada are producing CLT, with a total estimated production capacity of 153,000 cubic meters – and capacity is set to more than triple. Five more mills are already under construction in the US, adding an estimated 513,000 cubic meters of CLT production capacity by 2024.

“The wood products industry is responding to the builders’ excitement about CLT’s potential,” said Honeyman. “This means we’re going to see increased demand for timber and lumber to serve CLT producers. The only question – and our motivation for developing this study – is how quickly demand and production will ramp up across North America.”

The first-ever Outlook for the North American Cross-Laminated Timber Market includes:

  • 15-year forecast of CLT consumption by country and end use category
  • Estimates adjusted for 3 different adoption-rate scenarios
  • Discussion of alternative products and factors that could limit growth
  • Overview of current CLT projects, plus planned expansions/investments
  • List of all North American CLT mills, with capacities and other details

For more information, visit


About RISI (
RISI is the leading information provider for the global forest products industry. The company works with clients in the pulp and paper, packaging, wood products, timber, biomass, tissue and nonwovens industries to help them make better decisions. Headquartered in Boston, MA, RISI operates additional offices throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia and is a subsidiary of Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, a global business-to-business price reporting & information group (



For Press Inquiries, please contact:
Alan Petrillo
RISI Communications, Special Studies
O: 781-778-7592

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