Last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the awarding of more than $32 million to fund 2022 wood innovations and community wood grants to expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood markets, and support active management to improve forest health and resilience, especially in light of the ongoing nationwide wildfire crisis.
The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) is pleased to support the Wood Innovation Grants (WIG) program with over $272K in matching funds for six ambitious projects that will explore and elevate the use of mass timber and mass timber products in commercial and residential construction applications.
“The WIG program has been encouraging deeper study and more innovative applications of wood products,” said Cees de Jager, SLB President. “The SLB enthusiastically supports these six projects that will pave the way for others to follow with greater confidence and creativity.”
Waechter Architecture and KPFF Consulting Engineers received a $40,000 match from the SLB to help identify the barriers to the competitive construction of all-wood buildings. Using its Mississippi Avenue project as a case study, Waechter will develop a series of online seminars, drawings, and a physical book to publish and share findings.
“It’s common for new mass timber projects to assume hybrid construction methods in the pursuit of tall-wood buildings. At Waechter Architecture, we are working to construct all-wood buildings, like our Mississippi Avenue project, and to remove barriers for more of the industry to do the same,” said Judson Moore, Design Director at Waechter Architecture. “We are very excited by this special opportunity of the Wood Innovations Grant and the SLB’s matching funds. With this support, our team and the wider building industry are going to see more all-wood mass timber projects getting built.”
Karagozian & Case, Inc. and SmartLam received a $50,000 match from the SLB to build upon a previous WIG grant to construct full-scale CLT panels with steel reinforcement. This year, the organizations will test the effectiveness of reinforced CLT panels under extreme conditions through blast testing and hygrothermal testing.
“K&C is very pleased at the opportunity to continue to explore the capabilities of reinforced CLT,” said Mark Weaver, Principal at K&C. “With further testing along with data and a deeper understanding of what CLT can do, we’re able to help the government build more sustainably with a broadened used of wood structures in federal facilities.”
Equilibrium Consulting received a $40,000 match from the SLB for its CLT Design Tools project. With this funding, Equilibrium will make significant improvements to preliminary tools designed to improve the efficiency and accuracy of CLT floor, roof, and wall design and will also begin to distribute the tools to the engineering community.
The Georgia Forestry Foundation received a $22,500 match from the SLB to develop a mass timber demonstration project in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology. The project will seek to position mass timber as a solution for sustainable development while building awareness of Georgia’s working forests.
Sustainable Northwest received a $50,000 match from the SLB for its Building Projects with Positive Impact project, which will support intentional wood procurement for five pilot projects across multiple scales, ownerships, and construction types. It will also measure the positive impacts associated with wood sourcing.
The Neutral Project received a $70,000 match from the SLB to complete the necessary architecture, engineering, fire safety, building code analysis, sustainability quantification, and preconstruction cost analysis for the completion of two high-rise, mass timber, mixed-used, multifamily developments in Wisconsin: Bakers Place and The Edison.
The SLB looks forward to sharing the learnings and outcomes of these groundbreaking projects, each of which supports our mission to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber projects in residential and commercial construction.