US Lumber Groups Support Timber Innovation Act

The American Wood Council (AWC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) and Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association (SLMA) today announced their strong support for the “Timber Innovation Act”, according to an American Wood Council release Monday.

US “Timber Innovation Act”

“Advancing the construction of tall wood buildings will help lower the cost of building construction and reduce reliance on fossil fuel-intensive materials,” said American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski in the combined agency release Monday.

“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 United States has an opportunity to accelerate and lead in the adoption of tall wood buildings and significantly expand markets for wood products,”

Up until recently, most wood buildings did not exceed six stories and were constructed of lightweight materials. Recent advances in technology, engineering and safety have now made it possible to build taller wood buildings using newly-developed mass timber products. In the last five years, 17 buildings between seven and 14 stories have been built using heavy timber construction globally. Canada, Nor- way, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden and France all have constructed and occupied multiple tall-wood buildings.

The proposed bill would:

  • Establish performance driven re- search and development program for advancing tall wood building construction in the United States;
  • Authorize the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition through the US 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; and,
  • Authorize technical assistance for USDA, in cooperation with state foresters and state extension directors (or equivalent state of cials), to implement a program of education and technical assistance for mass timber applications.