Metsä Wood designs concrete-LVL hybrid sandwich wall element

Hybrid construction offers construction companies a more sustainable way of building without changing the current way of construction. Metsä Wood and its partners have designed a hybrid sandwich wall element which will renew offsite construction. The innovation combines concrete with Kerto® LVL (laminated veneer lumber). The first construction project to use the elements is Metsä Fibre’s Rauma sawmill.

The need for more sustainable solutions is acute, because construction causes 30% of all CO2 emissions. Combining concrete and Kerto LVL, the hybrid sandwich wall elements offer an easy way to replace typical concrete sandwich elements, the popular wall element in residential multi-storey buildings in Nordic countries.

Most importantly, the innovation guarantees efficient construction.

“The hybrid sandwich wall element helps to increase the share of wood to build more sustainable buildings efficiently. This joint development is our effort to support the construction industry,” said Jussi Björman, Director, Business Construction at Metsä Wood.

Innovation in partnership

Metsä Wood partnered with Finnish construction and structural design companies to design the optimal hybrid sandwich wall element. Precast element manufacturer Lipa-Betoni saw the potential of the hybrid elements.

“The hybrid sandwich wall element is a great opportunity. We look for a new market with a product, which can be used in the same way than concrete sandwich elements,” said Satu Lipsanen, Chief Executive Officer of Lipa-Betoni.

Lipsanen is pleased with the cooperation, where Lipa-Betoni’s concrete knowhow meets Metsä Wood’s wood experience. The goal was to design a practical element, which is easy to produce and build with.

Sustainable construction

“As Kerto LVL is a light material, the hybrid sandwich wall elements will be faster to produce at the factory and transport to the site, and even the transport emissions will decrease due to the light load. The light elements are also easier to lift,” said Björman.

He also points out that new easy-to-produce construction solutions are needed to turn the industry in a more sustainable direction.

“Around 1 million square metres of concrete wall elements are produced annually in Finland. Their load-bearing core creates 45,000 tons of COemissions. If all concrete walls were replaced with hybrid sandwich wall elements, CO2 emissions would decrease by 30,000 tons a year and 95,000 tons of carbon would be stored,” highlighted Björman.

Metsä Fibre’s new Rauma sawmill is the first construction project where the hybrid sandwich wall elements will be used. Skanska is the main constructor of the mill project.  The elements will be produced at Lipa-Betoni’s factory in Pieksämäki, Finland, and installed in June.