U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Teams with SLB to Forge New Markets through Tall Wood Demonstration Projects
On September 17, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, representing USDA's partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, announced the two winners of the U.S. Tall Building Competition. The innovative tall wood building designs demonstrate the efficacy of next-generation lumber and mass timber production; the winners will receive a combined $3 million in funding.
The announcement generated tremendous publicity for the industry with more than 21 articles to date. Top tier outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fast Company, Architectural Digest, ARCHITECT Magazine and The Oregonian.
“The U.S. wood products industry is vitally important as it employs more than 547,000 people in manufacturing and forestry, with another 2.4 million jobs supported by U.S. private-forest owners,” said Secretary Vilsack. “By embracing the benefits of wood as a sustainable building material, these demonstration projects have the ability to help change the face of our communities, mitigate climate change and support jobs in rural America. I look forward to seeing how these two buildings help lead the way in furthering the industry.”
“Tall wood building systems have been embraced by developers and architects around the world for many years,” added Marc Brinkmeyer, SLB Chair. “Moving forward with these projects is a step in the right direction for the U.S. building industry in having the ability to take full advantage of the inherent benefits of wood from both an environmental and economic standpoint.”
Innovative new technologies and building systems have enabled longer wood spans, taller walls, and higher buildings, and continue to expand the possibilities for wood use in construction. The competition is aimed at showcasing the safe application, practicality and sustainability of tall structures that use mass timber.
The competition itself is vital to industry efforts to access this new market segment by showcasing wood products for building cost-effective, high-performing tall structures in urban-dense settings, as an alternative to concrete, masonry, and steel. Learn more here.
Watch the video of the Press Conference:
AWC Fire Tests Support Code Change to Expand Wood Construction
In October the International Code Council (ICC) will weigh the results of two large-scale component fire tests conducted by the American Wood Council (AWC) in support of building standards changes that will enable taller buildings. AWC seeks a revision to the 2018 International Building Code that would permit nine-story, multi-family structures to be framed with nail-laminated timber, cross-laminated timber, or other mass timber products.
AWC conducted the tests in early September in front of key building and fire officials at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). An AWC webinar on the fire tests was presented by SWRI and the recording is accessible to the broader ICC membership.
reThink Wood Targets Influencers for Timber in the City Competition
Think Wood hosted a successful social media Q&A to highlight the Timber In TheCity: Student Design Competition. During the September 9 chat, reThink Wood’s Twitter followers discussed the competition and the benefits of wood and education programs.
The Q&A generated a total of 166 mentions of the #TimberCity hashtag, and 123,228 unique impressions. The full Twitter conversation is available on Storify.
WoodWorks Converts Non-Wood Firm to Wood Use
Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) had buildings of all sizes in its architectural portfolio, but few were wood-frame. After attending a WoodWorks “Lunch and Learn” on the topic of mid-rise wood construction, the firm downloaded WoodWorks’ Heights and Areas Calculator. After the meeting, SCB sent Janelle Leafblad, PE, WoodWorks regional director, a list of questions related to the California State University Channel Island Student Housing Phase III—the Santa Rosa Village project. Working with the project assistance help desk, Janelle provided SCB with a broad range of information and support—from technical materials to assistance with wood framing details in the architectural and structural plans for the proposed four-story buildings.
Thanks to the assist from WoodWorks, SCB now has in design a 118,000 square foot project, valued at $47 million, that will utilize one million board feet of lumber.
Wood, Naturally Highlights Wood’s Benefits over Composite Decking
Wood, Naturally syndicated an article on September 3 about six projects that boost curb appeal and home resale value, highlighting the higher ROI of wood versus composite decks and wood’s superior environmental performance. One highlight: “Plastic composite decks use 15 times more energy than wood decks–and 87 percent of that energy comes from carbon-emitting fossil fuels.”
Since its publication, nearly 1,100 online sites have picked up the article, exposing it to more than 65 million readers. The article has appeared on top tier outlets including the Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune and The Baltimore Sun.
In September, Wood, Naturally’s Facebook page reached a milestone of more than 50,000 likes, gaining quickly on Trex—on Facebook since September 2009.
AWC Vies for Church Market Influencers
Church Designer is a magazine site that reaches more than 8,000 architects, engineers, consultants, builders, and executive pastors—the designers and specifiers in the $3.5 billion U.S. house of worship market. In his August article, AWC’s John "Buddy" Showalter makes the case that when built to code, wood is beneficial for church and school buildings. The article concluded with an update on AWC efforts to update building standards that recognize the structural benefits of mass timber products such as CLT that would be well-suited to the house of worship market.
Site Touts Advantages of Innovative Wood Products for Designers/Builders
TheMostNaturalResource.com is a new site created primarily for the design/build communities to highlight the advantages of using innovative wood products from sustainably managed forests. The messaging for the site is based on content developed by reThink Wood.
The site is the result of collaboration between Washington and Oregon sustainable forestry managers, wood products manufacturers, conservationists, academics and architects. The Innovative Wood Products Collaborative, which announced the launch of its website on September 11, is co-sponsored by the Oregon Forest Resources Industries and the Washington Forest Protection Association.