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.
Organizations may submit project proposals to the SLB at any time. Please review our evaluation criteria and guidelines prior to submission.
To learn more about perennial funding opportunities such as the Mass Timber Competition or matching funds for the Wood Innovations Grant, please read on.
2022 Mass Timber Competition
In June of 2022, the SLB and USDA Forest Service announced the winners of the 2022 Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon. Six winning projects were chosen for their ability to demonstrate mass timber’s innovative, scalable applications in architectural design and to highlight its significant role in reducing the built environment’s carbon footprint. The winning projects, which will share $2 million in total funding, were:
- The 176,000-square-foot Vancouver Ambulatory Care Center medical facility in Vancouver, Washington, proposed by ZGF Architects, Timberlab, Swinerton, and PCS Structural Solutions.
- Return to Form, a 12-story multifamily and retail project in Denver, Colorado, which will include affordable housing units, proposed by Katz Development, Timberlab, KL&A Engineers and Builders, and Tres Birds.
- Evergreen Charter School’s 85,000-square-foot gymnasium in Hempstead, New York, proposed by Martin Hopp Architect, Consigli, and Odeh Engineers.
- A 42,456-square-foot industrial warehouse for Alaskan Copper & Brass in Kent, Washington, proposed by atelierjones, Foushee, Timberlab, and DCI Engineers.
- INTRO Phase 2, a multifamily high-rise building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, proposed by Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors, Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, and Forefront Structural Engineers.
- Killingsworth, an 18,780-square-foot community-centric office building in Portland, Oregon, proposed by Adre, LEVER Architecture, and Holmes US.
Follow the status of the projects on the Mass Timber Competition page.
2022 Wood Innovation Grant Projects
The USDA recently awarded over $32 million under its 2022 Wood Innovations and Community Grants programs to foster the expanded use of wood products, strengthen wood markets, and support effective forest management. The SLB will provide over $272,000 in matched funds to six winning projects specifically to elevate the use of mass timber in commercial and residential construction applications. The matched fund recipients are:
- Waechter Architecture and KPFF Consulting Engineers to identify barriers to the competitive construction of all-wood buildings.
- Karagozian & Case Inc. and SmartLam to conduct blast and hygrothermal testing to assess the performance of reinforced cross laminated timber (CLT) panels under extreme conditions.
- Equilibrium Consulting to advance and disseminate its CLT Design Tools project, which aims to improve the efficiency of CLT floor, roof, and wall design.
- The Georgia Forestry Foundation to develop a mass timber demonstration project with the Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Sustainable Northwest to launch its Building Projects With Positive Impact project, which will support intentional wood procurement for five pilot projects across different scales, ownership, and construction types.
- The Neutral Project to conduct architecture, engineering, fire safety, building code, sustainability, and preconstruction-cost analyses for two mass timber high-rise, residential developments.
The SLB looks forward to sharing the outcomes and lessons generated by these groundbreaking projects as part of an overall effort to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber in residential and commercial construction.
2021 Wood Innovation Grant Projects
The SLB funded 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.