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December 2015 Newsletter

Feature Article

Softwood Lumber Board Welcomes New Members, Sets Stage for Productive 2016
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed six members to serve three-year terms on the Softwood Lumber Board beginning January 1, 2016:
  • From the U.S. South: Michael Case, The Westervelt Company, and Hank Scott, Collum’s Lumber
  • From the U.S. West: Marc Brinkmeyer, Idaho Forest Products Group, and Steve Zika, Hampton Affiliates
  • From Canada West: Duncan Davies, Interfor
  • From Canada East: James Lopez, Tembec
Chairman Marc Brinkmeyer convened a meeting of the Softwood Lumber Board on November 19, 2015 which focused on reviewing funded program performance and future plans, and setting a vision for the future of the SLB.
In summary, the Board:
  • Elected a slate of officers for the 2016 Board, including Mike Case, Chair; Duncan Davies, First Vice-Chair; Don Kayne, Second Vice-Chair; Hank Scott, Secretary; Steve Zika, Treasurer; Marc Brinkmeyer, Immediate Past Chair; Jack Jordan, Chair Emeritus.
  • Reviewed and considered SLB cumulative impacts, noting that in three short years, the SLB has changed how wood is perceived in the market, what is believed to be possible building with wood, and the relationship between government and the industry—unlocking tremendous growth potential.
  • Authorized payment of quarterly installments after reviewing third-quarter results of the 2015 funded programs. 
  • Considered reports from major funded programs regarding future direction and challenges; reviewed and authorized 2016 program budgets. 
  • Reviewed progress on third party (Prime Consultants) development of performance metrics for the SLB. Since 2012, SLB program investments have delivered over 1.5 billion board feet of new demand for softwood lumber. While this conservative volume has been directly measured , additional SLB-wide impacts will be quantified through Prime Consulting’s third-party measurement analysis to determine the full impact and overall return on investment generated by the SLB.
  • Heard a report on the progress being made by winners of the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition implementation and the Competition’s influence in stimulating a growing number of tall wood and mass timber structure around the country.
  • Reviewed current and future SLB efforts in the fields of research and exports.
  • Discussed potential new directions for SLB strategy based on future market changes.
  • Considered a report from Benton Johnson, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, on SOM’s successful implementation of its SLB-supported research on hybrid heavy timber construction systems.

Program Updates

reThink Wood Unifies Lumber Industry at Greenbuild
An estimated 20,000 attendees and 550 exhibitors came together on November 18th & 19th for the 2015 Greenbuild Expo in Washington D.C. Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, presenting an opportunity for reThink Wood to drive conversations with key audiences and continue building awareness and strengthen credibility for the reThink Wood platform and the environmental benefits of using wood in construction.
reThink Wood established a strong presence at the show in order to engage directly with influencers and generate prospect leads in the sustainable design community. This included integrated efforts to reach prospective wood champions and key media contacts in conjunction with WoodWorks, American Wood Council, Southern Forest Products Association, Western Wood Products Association, and the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association.
There was a significant increase in booth traffic compared to last year. Visitors expressed interest in hearing about the benefits of mass timber construction, seeing the winning project models from the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition and meeting the design teams in person.
Onsite, the reThink Wood team supported several activities to drive engagement, including a demonstration mass timber kiosk, media interviews, wood building models and prize giveaways. A live Twitter Q&A session connected a wider outside audience to the reThink Wood’s presence inside the convention. These helped to generate new leads and build relationships with prospective champions and media.
Taking advantage of several spokespeople at the booth, the team facilitated 15 media briefings including editors from Architectural Record, Commercial Architecture Magazine, Engineering News-Record and Construction Specifier, along with an interview with National Public Radio.

WoodWorks is Building Conversion Tools Across Market Segments
Given the large volume of wood involved, multi-family will remain the largest market segment supported by WoodWorks. However, the program is also increasing its conversion focus on other promising segments, such as low-rise commercial, where designers tend to default to steel or concrete, and wood is estimated to have just 5-10 percent market share.

Most recently, WoodWorks commissioned cost and LCA (life cycle assessment) studies of two big box stores—one designed in steel and one in wood—and published a case study showing that wood offers significant advantages. The wood design provided nearly $1 million in savings (22 percent), and outperformed the steel design in five out of six environmental impact categories.

The team also has a new presentation focused on low-rise commercial, slated for 23 lunch seminars across the country 
in the first half of 2016.

Both of these efforts benefited from information gleaned from a focus group with retail building designers held earlier this year, and this same model—focus group/case study/seminar—is being applied to mid-rise office buildings. 

AWC Releases Updated Total UA Calculator App
The American Wood Council (AWC) has released a mobile app intended to help developers reduce the expense of building energy modeling. The app enables developers who install traditional wood-framed walls with energy-efficient windows to demonstrate compliance with the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.

The app takes advantage of the “Total UA” alternative pathway for compliance, which calculates the amount of energy lost through a wall. Insulated wall configurations covered by the app include 2x4 and 2x6 wood framing at 16” and 24” on-center spacing, as well as with several cladding and sheathing options. The app is downloadable on Apple and Android devices, and is also available as a web-based calculator on the AWC website. 

AWC’s 2015 Code Conforming Wood Design Publication Now Available  
AWC’s new publication, 2015 Code Conforming Wood Design examines what’s possible with wood use in commercial construction according to the latest international building codes.  

Wood, Naturally Corporate Partnership Strategy Produces Effective Results 

Wood, Naturally continued its strategy of fostering corporate partnerships in November with Olympic Paints and Stains. A co-created article with interior design tips for the holidays has reached an audience of more than 64.4 million people, and demonstrates how softwood interior applications modernize a home. 

Industry News

Mixed Concrete Group Aims to Regain Market Share 
The National Ready Mix Concrete Association has made public its $20.5 million, five-year plan to win back eroding mid-rise market share from the wood industry. The plan's goal is to increase the share of concrete in low and mid-rise residential and nonresidential construction from 22 percent to 33 percent in five years.  Click on the link to view NRMCA's plan.

Researchers Study How CLT Can Stimulate Rural Economies
Oregon BEST, which brings together public university researchers, entrepreneurs and developers in the clean technology sector, will conduct a study of how cross-laminated timber can stimulate growth in rural communities. Oregon BEST, along with the Pacific Northwest Manufacturing Partnership, recently won a $120,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Changing Perceptions is the Key to More Mass Timber Buildings
Ill-founded, outdated misperceptions about lumber, rather than modern quantitative data, hold back designers from specifying lumber. Educating specifiers on how modern wood design solutions have overcome challenges will lead to more wood construction. Read more in “2 Minutes on Cross Laminated Timber That Will Change Your Life.”   
Will New York Embrace the Wooden Tower Movement?
Long before 475 West 18th Street joins the skyline in New York City, both mainstream and industry media will assess the potential commercial appeal of tall mass timber construction in America. A November article in The Real Deal, a New York real estate news publication, takes a balanced view of both the project benefits and challenges faced by its proponents.
University of Alabama Research Aims to Make Buildings Safer in Earthquake-prone Cities
An academic research project is underway to determine whether a combined light wood frame system (LiFS) and cross-laminated timber (CLT) system form a self-centering structure that could better withstand the force of an earthquake. Two University of Alabama professors have teamed with a Colorado State University professor to conduct this study.

The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) is an industry funded initiative established to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products in outdoor, residential and non-residential construction. Programs and initiatives supported by the SLB will focus on increasing the demand for appearance and softwood lumber products in the United States.

Softwood Lumber Board
1101 K St. NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-463-4705


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