WASHINGTON D.C. – A new bill from Congress would establish performance driven research for advancing tall wood building construction in the U.S.  

The “Timber Innovation Act” would:

·        Authorize the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) annually for the next five years

·        Create federal grants to support state, local, university and private sector education, outreach, research and development, including education and assistance for architects and builders, that will accelerate the use of wood in tall buildings

·        Authorize technical assistance for USDA, in cooperation with state foresters and state extension directors (or equivalent state officials), to implement a program of education and technical assistance for mass timber applications

ARTICLE

80 story timber skyscraper formally proposed for London

London’s first timber skyscraper could be a step closer to reality after researchers presented Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, with conceptual plans for an 80-story, 300 meter (980 feet) high wooden building integrated within the Barbican arts and conference center.


Recent advances in technology, engineering and safety have made it possible to build taller wooden buildings using newly-developed mass timber products, like cross-laminated timber. In the last five years, 17 buildings between seven and 14 stories have been built using heavy timber construction globally. Canada, Norway, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and France all have constructed and occupied multiple tall-wood buildings.

Cross-laminated timber, seen above, consists of alternating boards in different directions, which allows large structures to be built from wood.
 
Other countries have already been considering wooden skyscrapers. Researchers presented the Mayor of London with plans for an 80-story wooden building just a few weeks ago. 
 
Multiple organizations in the U.S. wood industry, including The American Wood Council (AWC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) and Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (SLMA), have all announced strong support for the bill.
 
“Advancing the construction of tall wood buildings will help lower the cost of building construction and reduce reliance on fossil fuel-intensive materials,” said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. “This in turn helps avoid production of greenhouse gases that would have otherwise been emitted during manufacture of alternative products. Tall wood building construction will also support jobs in areas of rural America that have yet to recover from the recession. Given the many national benefits that would occur as a result of bill’s passage, the U.S. has an opportunity to accelerate and lead in the adoption of tall wood buildings and significantly expand markets for wood products.”
 
“This legislation will not only help reduce the environmental footprint of the built environment, it will help keep families, who own and care for a large portion of U.S. forests and supply a majority of the timber we use, on the land and help them keep their land in forest. In this respect, it is an incredibly powerful forest conservation strategy and we thank Senators Stabenow, Crapo, Klobuchar, Daines and Cantwell for leading the effort,” said Tom Martin, AFF President and CEO.
 
“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,” said Furman Brodie, vice president of Charles Ingram Lumber Co. in Effingham, South Carolina and SLMA Chairman of the Board.