Architectural Record BE - Building Enclosure ENR

The High-Performance Benefits of Specifying Lightweight Wood Panels

The benefits of specifying lightweight engineered panels versus traditional wood panels
Sponsored by Think Lightweight Corp.
Continuing Education

Learning Objectives - After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe what lightweight panels are and how they are specified by architects and designers.
  2. Explain how lightweight panels have evolved over time to be lighter, larger, and more customizable.
  3. Discuss the different materials used to create lightweight panels.
  4. List the distinct advantages to specifying lightweight panel technology.


AAA 1 Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
May qualify for 1 AANB Learning Hour
SAA 1 Learning Hour
MAA 1 Learning Hour
AAPEI 1 Learning Hour
May qualify for 1 NSAA Learning Hour
AIBC 1 Learning Hour
NLAA 1 Learning Hour
NWTAA 1 Learning Hour
This course is approved as a Structured Course
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
Approved for Core Learning
Approved for structured learning
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This course is approved as a Core Course
Course may quality for Learning Hours with NWTAA

Lightweight engineered wood panels have long been a staple for architects and designers looking to create interesting and contemporary interior designs. Although prized for their consistency in look and ease of installation, historically, lightweight panels have three main challenges that have kept them from more frequent use.

  1. Lightweight panels have been difficult to specify and procure, limiting architects’ and designers’ ability to creatively use the product.
  2. Lightweight panels have been too costly to be a viable solution to meet architectural design requirements due to inefficient lightweight panel manufacturing processes.
  3. Lightweight panels have not had the engineering support behind them to complete a full package, including fastening, hardware, and installation.

Fortunately for architects and designers, many of these challenges have been addressed by lightweight customizable panel technology. New panel styles and types offer a wide range of materials, expanded sizes, and fastener technologies. However, before specifying lightweight engineered wood panels, it is important that the architect and designer have the knowledge to choose the right lightweight panel type for the project.

Photo of The Conservatory at Hammock Beach.

Photo courtesy of Think Lightweight Corp.