Research and Funding



Funded Research Expands Opportunities for Softwood Lumber

The SLB invests in research in areas that stand to have the most direct benefits for the softwood lumber industry. The goal of these investments is to fuel innovation and to increase consumption of softwood lumber products. Expansion into new and emerging markets, including mid-rise and tall buildings, will result in greater demand and increased value for softwood lumber products.

The SLB has actively funded research as part of its broader softwood lumber promotion program since July 2012 and as a key means to multiply overall return on investment to the industry. To date, the SLB has delivered tremendous impact in developing and using research to address market barriers, increase awareness of the benefits of softwood lumber among building professionals, and, most importantly, increase the consumption of softwood lumber—resulting in 9.8+ bbf of new demand and an incremental $4.9 billion of revenue in the U.S. since its inception.

2021 Wood Innovation Grant Projects

The SLB is currently funding three projects under the USDA Forest Service 2021 Wood Innovations Grant (WIG) program, which explores traditional wood project expansions, growth for wood energy markets, and the promotion of wood as a natural and economical construction material for commercial buildings.

  1. Building Affordable Housing with Mass Timber
    In response to the region’s housing shortage, Sustainable Northwest (SNW) and Hacienda Community Development Group (HCDC), both based in Oregon, will demonstrate pathways for building affordable housing with regionally sourced mass timber. The project will explore financing options, build one or more prototypes, and perform a structural material life cycle analysis. SNW and HCDC will receive $100,000 of matching funds from the SLB for this project.
  2. Demonstration of a Cost-Effective CLT Panel Capable of Resisting DOS/DOD Design Basis Threats – Phase I
    Karagozian & Case (K&C), a science and engineering firm based in California, will develop and execute a two-phase testing program to demonstrate the blast-resistance capability of cross laminated timber (CLT). If the effort is successful, K&C will pursue blast testing on reinforced CLT panels in a follow-on second phase. K&C will receive $50,000 in matching funds provided by the SLB for this project.
  3. Advancement of Timber Panels as Structural Elements in Composite Floor Systems of Timber-Steel Hybrid Structures
    Auburn University’s (AU) School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) began a two-year project to establish a preliminary design for a timber-steel composite system utilizing CLT or laminated veneer lumber (LVL) to improve the structural performance for buildings six stories or more. AU will receive $50,000 in matching funds provided by the SLB for this project.

Initiatives for Increased Carbon and Sustainability Transparency in Wood Products

The SLB is also funding an initiative for carbon transparency projects in partnership with the United States Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment), the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), the American Wood Council, and other industry partners. The SLB will lead, execute, and finance three projects that help to develop a more complete accounting of wood’s carbon impact, increasing transparency and showing how wood products and forests mitigate carbon emissions and the impacts of climate change.

  1. The Wood Supply Shed Carbon Balance Tool involves creating a credible and transparent digital tool to report growth/drain by wood supply area. This tool could be used to report land carbon value for reporting to the GHG Protocol as well as provide an “A0” add-on (‘A zero’ – a new life cycle stage that would include carbon on land) to the North American Wood Products environmental product declarations (EPDs) in the EC3 database.
  2. The Fiber Sourcing Transparency Tool will be designed to provide sustainability and forest certification data in a framework that is practical and easily accessed. The tool targets the AEC community, which is interested in sustainability metrics associated with specified wood products and confused about the differences between forest management certification, fiber supply certification, and the sustainability metrics and assurances.
  3. The A4 Transportation Tool will make available the average CO2 equivalent transportation to site metric (A4) for each region based on data about where products come from and modes of transportation and distances. The tool will be available to life cycle assessment (LCA) databases and whole-building LCA tools, such as BT/Tally, Athena Impact Estimator, and OneClick. 

2022 Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon

Designed to expand the use of mass timber in the United States, the competition will offer funds totaling $2,000,000 to projects that showcase mass timber’s application, practicality, commercial viability, and role as a natural climate solution, reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment. The competition will help expand the use of mass timber building solutions and support increased employment in advanced wood products design, engineering, construction, supply chain, and manufacturing sectors.

The SLB and USDA are providing funding for the competition. The funding will support costs associated with the use of mass timber or mass timber hybrid building systems and construction. Funding will also help project teams overcome barriers in adopting newer building materials and systems, most notably the costs of analyzing design and engineering alternatives and verifying that these solutions comply with applicable code(s). See program page for complete details.