What lies ahead in the wood products industry?

Framework, Oregon's 1st Proposed All-Wood High-rise

Framework, Oregon’s 1st Proposed All-Wood High-rise

“The Wood Innovations Grant Program helps create jobs in rural communities and keeps our forests healthy. By investing in strong markets for forest products, we can incentivize sustainable forest management and sustain our rural communities.” – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. 

The future is certainly bright for wood products and wood energy industry! A short time ago, the U.S. Forest Service announced over $8.3 million to expand and accelerate wood products and wood energy markets. This increase will mean a total investment of over $45 million in funds from 36 business, university, non-profit, and tribal partners in 19 states. From 2013, this funding has aided in the establishing of 22 Statewide Wood Energy Teams and six Statewide Wood Utilization Teams.

Furthermore, the 2017 Wood Innovations Grant Recipients include the Arkansas Wood Utilization Council, Camptonville Forest Biomass Business Center Bioenergy Facility, Mammoth Lakes Integrated Biomass Waste Processing Center, and the Great Plains CLT market Development through Architectural Education to name a few.

On June 6, Portland officials approved a plan for the first all-wood high-rise in the United States dubbed Framework. A fitting name for what may lay the framework for other-similar all-wood high-rises to appear throughout the country. These projects are not just good for the wood industry — they are good for the country. As Gov. Kate Brown said. “Oregon’s forests are a tried and true resource that may again be the key to economic stability for rural Oregon.”

The Timber Innovation Act is another possible indicator of bright things to come. Should the bill gain Congress approval it will bring forth incentives and measures to create innovation in the timber industry and to help further development of CLT structures in the USA.

The future is no doubt a positive one for Wood Products and Wood Energy; we can’t wait to see what else is in store in the next few months.

Sources:

Forest Business Network

Washington Post

CBC

Spotlight on the reThink Wood Initiative

USACE Federal Center South Building 1202 - Photo Source: Architect Magazine

USACE Federal Center South Building 1202 – Photo Source: Architect Magazine

As new timber products gain in use and application as a mainstream construction production, they will—like any other popular building material—require ongoing research to remain useful in the ever changing construction landscape. This is the reason for the reThink Wood initiative was founded, a body of research striving to bring timber to the forefront of the construction world.

Formed in 2011, the reThink Wood initiative is a collective of interests working to represent North America’s wood industry: Cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail laminated timber (NLT), and glued laminated timber (glulam). The initiative strives to present a unified message of wood performance, sustainability, and cost.

Greater Texas Foundation - Photo Source: Architecture Magazine

Greater Texas Foundation – Photo Source: Architecture Magazine

reThink Wood offers a publicly accessible research library for anyone looking to be informed on the latest news and studies in the field of wood building products. More importantly, reThink Wood highlights where research is lacking in these given areas, thus encouraging more studies in those areas.

As previously mentioned, one of reThink Wood’s guiding principals is the advocacy and education of all things timber; such an example can be seen below in one of their educational videos on the benefits of wood construction.

Everyone with an interest in the latest advances of timber and wooden constructions should take advantage of the ever-updating research and resources that reThink Wood has to offer; we know we will be!

Source:
http://www.rethinkwood.com/

http://www.architectmagazine.com/

http://www.archdaily.com/

A Look at Mass Timber Conference 2017

Photo Source: Mass Timber Conference

Photo Source: Mass Timber Conference

Last month one of the wood industry’s most important expos, Mass Timber Conference, took place in Portland, Oregon. The event provided attendees with 3 days worth of international experts and presentations on the advancement and possibilities of the mass timber industry, cross-laminated timber, and high rise wooden constructions the world over.

80 speakers, over 60 exhibits in an expo hall, receptions, and 4 educational tracks were some of the draws that awaited attendees this year. These attendees included: Architects, Engineers, City planners, Construction companies, Sawmills, Mass timber manufacturers, Mass timber equipment manufacturers, Designers, Fire officials, Mass timber equipment suppliers, Economic developers, Policy makers, State and federal agencies, and many more.

These are just a few of the many notable and captivating lectures that took place during this year’s Mass Timber Conference:

Steve Marshall, Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry, USDA Forest Service State & Private Forestry presented Changing the Way America Builds, a look into the strategic investments and decisions made by the Forest Service towards education, research, and outreach regarding mass timber construction.

Andrew Waugh, Principal, Waugh Thistleton Architects spoke on The Future of Mass Timber Buildings. Waugh Thisleton Architects are building Dalston Lane, a contender for the world’s tallest CLT building and previously built Murray Grove; the World’s first all timber residential tower.

Robert A. Luoto, President and CEO, Cross & Crown Inc spoke on Modern Logging in a Mass Timber World, a panel discussion that explored the sustainability, standards, and regulations of modern logging practices, and how they relate to mass timber.

Adam Taylor, Associate Professor and the Forest Products Extension Specialist, University of Tennessee’s panel on Biological Durability Considerations in Mass Timber explored the biodeterioration of wood, as well as existing techniques to address the issue.

Tall Timber in Portland, Oregon: The Future of Tall Timber in the United States was presented by Thomas Robinson, Founder of LEVER Architecture, and discussed the progress of the Framework Tower project, the West Coast winner of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition.

Thomas Tannert, BC Leadership Chair in Tall Wood and Hybrid Structures Engineering, University of Northern British Columbia spoke to the Recent Developments, Research and Code Implementations Related to Cross-laminated Timber in Canada and gave an in depth look at several research projects and advancements in CLT.

It would be difficult task to faithfully address every one of the fascinating lectures, panels, and exhibitors at this year’s Mass Timber Conference, and our effort only scratched the surface of what this event had to offer. The best way to experience it is to take part, thus it’s never to late to start planning for Mass Timber Conference 2018.

Sources:

http://www.masstimberconference.com/

http://waughthistleton.com/

 

The world’s tallest CLT building will soon be overshadowed.

“Steel was the 1800s materials, concrete 1900s. Now we are in the 2000s and it is time for timber.” – Susanne Rudemstan, head of the Swedish Wood Building Council

“The Tree,” the aptly named 173-foot wooden Norwegian apartment block leads the way as timber buildings —or “plyscrapers” as they are affectionately called— grow in popularity the world over. It currently holds the title as the world’s tallest Timber Building,— but it may not hold it for much longer.

Come May 2017, the University of British Columbia will finish Brock Commons student residence, 17-story tall and the soon-to-be tallest wooden construction in the world.  Of course, who knows how long that title will hold? With such proposed constructions as the 80-story timber tower to be built on Chicago’s waterfront, the very next contender may be coming sooner than we think.

Tallwood-Design-Institute-Logo (1)

Just this month, Oregon State University announced the TallWood Design Institute, structured around the advancement of wood constructions and the research, education, and teaching towards the development of wooden buildings. Thomas Maness, dean of the College of Forestry, describes the institute: “Oregon’s forest products industry and sustainable design profession are recognized for their products and progressive leadership internationally. The TallWood Design Institute works to link these two together in order to grow and leverage the use of new wood products in sustainable building design.”  As institutes like the TallWood Design Institute grow in number along with initiatives like the Timber Innovation Act, we can expect a bright future for the “plyscraper.”

Sources:

Daily Mail

World’s tallest wood building completed at UBC

Woodworking Network

Construction Dive

2017 sees growing number of CLT-based classrooms

Photo Source Yakima Herald

Photo Source Yakima Herald

Adams Elementary School of Wapato, Washington will soon have its first Cross-Laminated Timber-based classrooms, thanks to a five-school-district initiative to use CLT in elementary school classrooms. Washington Department of Enterprise Services project manager Debra Delzell says “It’s a very up and coming product that is used in Europe and has been used there for over 20 years.”

She’s not wrong, CLT constructions are on the rise both in Europe and the United States. With such initiatives as the Timber Innovation Act, the United States may very well soon see more CLT constructions in the very near future. When considering the Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber – such as reduced carbon footprint, heat insulation, faster construction, lower costs – it comes as little surprise that the state pushed for its use.

Another school undergoing a Cross-Laminated Timber construction project is Jefferson Elementary of the Mount Vernon school district. The four-classroom building is part of an ongoing initiative to lower the number of students per classroom. Thanks to the quick construction time of CLT projects, these classrooms are expected to be sitting students in the 2017/2018 school years.

Affordable, environmentally friendly, and quick to produce; as more institutions embrace this innovative building material, we expect to see more CLT constructions in educational institutions like Adams Elementary in the very near future.

Sources:

GoSkagit

ForestBusinessNetwork

KimaTV

YakimaHerald

Spotlight on the Timber Innovation Act

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter's Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter’s Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm

It’s a new year and time to look towards the future of the timber industry and examine the potential for positive change with upcoming initiatives such as the Timber Innovation Act.

The bill, currently finding bipartisan support from both political parties and the backing by the wood industry, would promote research and labor in the timber industry and create initiatives to drive the construction of tall wooden buildings. Furman Brodie, Vice President of Charles Ingram Lumber Company and SLMA (Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association) chairman of the Board, outlines the benefits of the bill:

“We are pleased to see Congress recognize the potential environmental and economic benefits of increasing wood use in tall building applications through the ‘Timber Innovation Act.’ Our mills are large drivers of the rural economies in which we operate, and expanded markets will help to bolster and grow these economies. Encouraging the use of wood products also benefits the environment, as increased wood demand encourages landowners to continue planting trees instead of converting their land to other purposes,”

Bridgport in London - Photo source: Portland Tribune

Bridgport in London – Photo source: Portland Tribune

As the name implies, the bill would bring forth incentives and measures to create innovation in the timber industry and to help further development of CLT structures in the USA. TimberInnovation.com states that the bill would:

•  Establish performance driven research and development program for advancing tall wood building construction in the United States;

•  Authorize the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition through the U.S. Department of Agriculture annually for the next five years;

•  Codify the Forest Service’s Wood Innovation Grant program and expand it to facilitate Centers of Excellence and provide grants to states to fund education, outreach, research and development, including education and assistance for architects and builders, which will accelerate the use of wood in tall buildings.

The House bill also includes language allowing the Wood Innovation Grant program to support proposals to use and/or retrofit existing sawmill facilities in areas with high unemployment to produce mass timber materials.

The U.S. Senate introduced the Timber Innovation Act (S. 2892) and a House companion bill (H.R. 5628). Both measures have been led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) for the Senate, Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) for the House. You can read the bill here.

Though the bill has still not yet passed, things are looking good for the Timber Innovation Act. We hope 2017 will see its implementation and lead to a bright, productive future for timber!

Sources:

www.timberinnovation.org
www.awc.org
www.agriculture.senate.gov

Did You Know the First Company Certified to Manufacture Cross Laminated Timbers is in Oregon?

DRJohnson

Oregon company D.R. Johnson made history in September of 2015 when they became the first American company certified to produce Cross-Laminated Timber.

For the uninitiated, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is a sustainable modern building material that brings tremendous benefits to constructions and the surrounding environment. Such benefits include affordability, reduced construction time, a lowered environmental impact, durability, and heat insulation.

To be able to produce CLT panels for construction, a company must first become certified by the American Plywood Association and the American National Standards Institute. This is no small feat and a great achievement accomplished by D.R. Johnson Lumber.

CLT manufacturing brings tremendous potential not only for Oregon but for the country as a whole. CLT constructions are growing in such popularity that many experts believe we are entering a “Timber Age” of construction. More projects and structures are embracing the material, and D.R. Johnson is always providing CLT panels for two of them in Oregon alone; the Albina Yard Project in Portland and the Woodcock Education Center in Monmouth.

UBC's Earth Sciences Building - Photo Source See-Change.net

UBC’s Earth Sciences Building – Photo Source See-Change.net

Established in 1951 in Riddle, Oregon, D.R. Johnson is a family-owned wood product manufacturer now lead by sisters Valerie Johnson and Jodi Westbrooks. The company’s vast experience producing riddle laminators (structural glue laminated beams) has undoubtedly served them well as they transitioned into producing Cross-Laminated Timber panels. Their infrastructure, tools, and local timber bounty will undoubtedly serve them well in this exciting venture.

Making history is an exciting event in its own right and we can’t help but look towards D.R. Johnson’s future endeavors with Cross-Laminated Timber with excitement. We know we’ll be seeing more and more wooden constructs in the very near future.

Sources:

OregonCLT

CapitalPress

The Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

Puukuokka-Housing-Block

OOPEA’s Wooden Puukuokka Housing Block of Jyväskylä, Finland, Photo Source Archdaily

“CLT has opportunities for significant advantages over steel, concrete or masonry construction in terms of environmental credentials, speed, weight, and structure as finish” – Alex de Rijke, dRMM

We previously asked the question “Is the Construction Industry About to Enter a Timber Age?” As architects and designers make the switch to building with Cross-Laminated Timber (even going as far to refer to it as the “Concrete of the 21st Century”) it’s become clear that the Timber Age isn’t about to begin, it has already begun.

Designers are embracing this new material for projects throughout the world. Hawkins/Browns of London combined CLT and steel to produce “the Cube,” a 33-meter high apartment block in London they claim is “the tallest building to use structural cross-laminated timber in Europe.” Beyond that they’ve produced CLT recital halls and tree-houses as well as using Cross-Laminated Timber to modify office and educational space. Lever Architecture of Portland proposed and designed Framework, a prize-winning mixed-use building that, if constructed, will be among the largest wooden buildings in the United States. Further structures can be found in Chicago, Finland, and Canada to name a couple of ever-growing examples.

This mass-adoption of Cross-Laminated Timber comes as no surprise when you list out the benefits it provides.

What are the Benefits of Cross-Laminated Timber?

Put simply, Cross-Laminated Timber is a prefabricated panel made up of kiln-dried wooden boards stacked in alternating directions (where the cross of the name comes from), then stuck together with structural adhesives. These panels are prepared with CNC equipment, allowing for precise specification and application in construction.

Most, if not all of CLT’s benefits stem from this design and preparation.

Simple, Quick Construction

Cross-Laminated Timber panels are lightweight and arrive on site with a structural system ready to be assembled. The process is both simple and swift, allowing for immediate and accurate construction which in turn saves time and money. CNC-prepared panels also allow for greater creative control when designing and building structures.

Durable

In Japan, a seven-story CLT building’s durability in an earthquake scenario was tested through fourteen shake-tests and came out with minimal damage. Airtight construction of each panel and precision fitting through CNC preparation leads to seismic resilience, as does its unique strength-to-weight ratio.

Fire-Resistant

Though it may sound strange to tout fire-resistance as a benefit of a wooden building material, it’s one of Cross-Laminated Timber’s greatest strengths. The lamination of CLT has an inherent fire-resistance to it, and the construction of the panels and structures allows little room for fire to breath and expand.

Additionally, the solid thermal mass of CLT prevents the conduction of heat from one side of the panel to the other, allowing extremely high temperatures to remain isolated to a side as the other remains at room temperature.

Sustainable

The nature of wood makes it the only building material that can be regrown and feasible in the long-term. Precision cutting of CLT minimizes on-site waste and its manufacturing requires less energy than producing steel or concrete. Cross-Laminated Timber’s light carbon footprint is one of its greatest strengths.

Acoustic Insulation

Solid wood paneling provides superior acoustic insulation, dampening both airborne and impact noises. Its lightweight nature also leads to quiet construction, making it ideal for urban development.

Thermal Insulation

In the same way that Cross-Laminated Timber’s airtight design creates auditory insulation it also creates thermal insulation. Tightly packed panels can trap 90% of the heat that would ordinarily escape from a home. CLT’s previously-mentioned high thermal mass means that temperatures are kept stable and comfortable.

Pleasing Aesthetic

There’s a warm, soothing visual quality to building with wood that separates it from the lifeless concrete slabs that typically fill a city. Cross-Laminated Timber also grants designers with the freedom to experiment with more organic and creative structures than previously allowed by old-fashioned building techniques.

See some of the possibilities for yourself.

Affordable

When comparing the manufacturing costs of certain steels and concrete, as well as the money saved on shorter construction time, CLT comes out as at a competitive price.

Sources:
Smartlam.com
Valueaddedwood.ca
Deezen.com
Archdaily.com
Naturally:Wood Youtube

A Unique View of the Sawmilling Process from Start to Finish

Lumber

Image @ Vaagen Brothers Lumber

When you think about engineered wood, one doesn’t always consider the enormous impact it has on our daily lives. Chances are there is engineered wood all around you; in the construction of the building you are sitting in, the furniture you’re using and the floors you’re standing on.

Engineered wood products are used just about everywhere from home construction to commercial buildings to industrial products. It’s so commonly used, most of us take for granted! One rarely considers the amount of skill, planning and innovation it takes to produce these marvelous materials.

It was exciting to come across a series of videos recently produced by Vaagen Brothers Lumber that provide an up close and personal view of the complete manufacturing process from logging to saw-milling, all captured with drone footage.

The forestry company’s first video, Start To Finish Logging, demonstrates the complexities of the logging process. The first step is to decide on a selective harvesting plan with the land owner. Local contractors are then sent out to operate the Feller Buncher, Skidder, Processor, and Loader to safely finish the job.

The next phase of production process is demonstrated in the video, Biomass Removal – From Forest To Power Plant. Here, we see the remarkable process of slash piles from harvest and fuels reduction projects being ground and hauled to nearby biomass power plants.

The final video of the series, Logs to Lumber, the Vaagen Brothers Lumber gives us an exquisite ariel view of the full sawmilling process inside their Colville mill.

About Vaagen Brothers Lumber
Colville, WA based Vaagen Brothers Lumber Inc. has been working in the forests of northeast Washington for more than 50 years. The company takes the best of traditional logging and lumber milling practices and combine them with advanced production technologies and forward thinking, sustainable forest management practices to create a company that’s as vibrant and growing as the healthy forests and ecosystems necessary to its success. Learn more by visiting vaagenbros.com/

 

 

Is the Construction Industry About to Enter the “Timber Age”?

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter's Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm

Tham & Videgård Arkitekter’s Wooden Highrise apartments for Stockholm. Photo Source: /www.dezeen.com/

“New types of engineered timber that are considerably stronger and more stable than regular wood are allowing architects to build bigger and higher, with timber skyscrapers now a real prospect.”-www.dezeen.com

As we are about to enter a new year, we in the timber industry are asking,

Are we entering what architects are calling “The Timber Age”?

As more and more builders are seeking sustainable designs, some architects appear to moving away from conventional materials (i.e.steel, masonry, concrete) and embracing wood as the “architectural wonder material of the 21st century”.

And it’s no wonder.  Builders and  architects alike are recognizing timber for it unique aesthetics, sustainability, quality and speed of construction.

“This is the beginning of the timber age,” said UK architect Andrew Waugh in this recent article. Waugh’s firm is behind a housing development in London that will use more timber than any other project in the world.

In Portland OR, builders plan to build a 12-story tower the city’s famed Pearl District.  In the Portland Tribune, Thomas Robinson of Lever Architecture says that this type of wood not only resists fires, it will have the ability to absorb the shock of a major earthquake.

These buildings are not limited to London and Portland.  Plans for these tall timber buildings are also cropping up in Manhattan, Italy, Australia British Columbia and many more locations all over the world.

The building material making these wooden tower structures possible is cross-laminated timber (CLT)– a large-scale, prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel.

Will cross laminated timber (CLT) take over steel and concrete as the preferred building material?


In it’s description of cross-laminated timber (CLT), APA – The Engineered Wood Association describes the material as “lightweight yet very strong, with superior acoustic, fire, seismic, and thermal performance, CLT is also fast and easy to install, generating almost no waste onsite. CLT offers design flexibility and low environmental impacts.”

This video reviews the Tall Timber Report that Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP developed as it relates to the details of the hybrid building system, fire and durability.

Aside from the structural benefits of wood, there are other benefits to using this material in buildings. Exposure to natural materials has real and measurable health and wellbeing benefits for the building’s occupants.  Corey Griffin, an Associate Professor at the Architecture School at Portland State University, says studies have shown that people are more productive and less stressed in buildings with access to natural materials.

In addition, research suggests that these modern wood structures may result in lower costs and a lower carbon footprint since production and processing of wood uses less energy than most other building materials.

This is a very exciting time for the timber industry as the technology, research and designs evolve.  To learn more about this movement, we encourage you to take a look at some of these resources.

Article Resources:
www.dezeen.com
www.rethinkwood.com
www.woodworks.org
portlandtribune.com