A Deep Dive into Element 5

Element5 is a business that engineers, manufactures, and participates in the installation of cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is a premium building material that has applications in low to mid-rise buildings with the ability to capture the visual warmth of wood but also benefit from significantly larger open spans than conventional building materials. The company began operations with a small manufacturing plant in Ripon, Quebec, and expanded operations in 2020 with the construction of a modern, highly automated facility in St. Thomas, Ontario. The new plant has easy access to road and rail transport throughout the Ontario and Midwest markets.

The Kensington Private Equity Fund invested in Element5 and raised additional funds to develop the new St. Thomas facility and to support the buildout of the team.

The manufacturing equipment for the new plant was made in Slovenia by Ledinek, a well-respected manufacturer of production lines in Europe. The first test panel came off the line in December 2020, and the plant received certification from PFS TECO for the production of CLT under the ANSI/APA PRG 320-2019 Standard for Performance-Rated Cross-Laminated Timber in early 2021. The company is shipping product from its new facility and the sales pipeline is growing steadily, with the factory on track to reach full production in the second half of 2021.

Element5 is adding value to Canadian softwood lumber by shifting from selling the commodity to using that commodity as the raw material for a manufactured product with significant engineering content. There is a growing demand for wood building products as people increasingly lean towards green components in all things, and as architects develop increasingly interesting applications for CLT, they are looking to take advantage of its unique aesthetic and structural properties.