California will give $500,000 in mass timber building competition
January 17, 2019 | 11:44 am CST

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CALIFORNIA - The California Government Operations Agency (GovOps) will award $500,000 in grants as part of the statewide California Mass Timber Building Competition. Grants will be awarded to selected proponent teams presenting viable and repeatable mass timber solutions for commercial and multi-family projects in California. 
By showcasing the architectural and commercial viability of advanced mass timber products in construction, the competition is intended to support employment opportunities in rural communities, contribute to the health and resiliency of California forests, and advance sustainability in the built environment.
California is the largest consumer of engineered wood products west of the Mississippi River according to the state, yet almost none is produced in the state. By showcasing opportunities for mass timber, organizers hope to stimulate the demand for buildings constructed using mass timber and generate investor interest in potential in-state production capacity while advancing its climate change and green building objectives.
Mass timber also has the potential to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in California, say competition organizers. After a century of suppressing forest fires to protect communities, many U.S. forests are now overly dense and susceptible to large and severe fires. Mass timber products present an opportunity for large, solid structural elements to be potentially manufactured from relatively small-diameter trees as well as other traditionally lower-value resources (such as trees that are dead or dying due to bark beetles or other insects and disease). 
Cross-laminated timber, a form of mass timber, is driving the effort to replace concrete with wood in construction. These buildings are faster to construct, more energy efficient, and comprised completely from renewable materials. Wood products have been an integral part of construction for centuries, but most wood buildings do not exceed three to four stories in height. With recent developments in wood products engineering, alongside other new technologies, it is now possible to expand the use of wood into larger construction projects.
The federal government is also on board, recently passing the Timber Innovation Act to incentivize construction.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at