On May 27, 2022, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the awarding of more than $32 million to fund the 2022 Wood Innovation and Community Wood Grants (WIG) program, which expands the use of wood products, strengthens emerging wood markets, and supports active management to improve forest health and resilience. The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) will further support six WIG recipients with over $272K in matching funds for projects that will explore and elevate the use of mass timber and mass timber products in commercial and residential construction applications.
“The WIG program has been encouraging deeper study and more innovative applications of wood products,” said Cees de Jager, SLB President. “The SLB enthusiastically supports these six projects that will pave the way for others to follow with greater confidence and creativity.”
Among the chosen recipients was Waechter Architecture, KPPF, who received a $40,000 match from the SLB to help identify the barriers to the competitive construction of all-wood buildings. Using its Mississippi Avenue project as a case study, Waechter will develop a series of online seminars, drawings, and a physical book to publish and share findings.
Also selected were Karagozian & Case, Inc. and SmartLam, who received a combined $50,000 match from the SLB to build upon a previous WIG grant to construct full-scale CLT panels with steel reinforcement. This year, the organizations will test the effectiveness of reinforced CLT panels under extreme conditions through blast testing and hygrothermal testing.
In addition to the WIG fund matching program, the SLB and USDA have completed judging of their $2M Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon is now complete. Winners were announced on June 23, 2022, during a press event at the 2022 AIA Conference on Architecture in Chicago, IL.
The competition award amount is the largest since the funders’ previous collaboration. In 2015, the SLB, USDA, and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council jointly awarded $3M to two competition winners as part of the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize.
WoodWorks, a non-profit staffed with structural engineers, architects, and construction experts, managed all aspects of the Mass Timber Competition, including project evaluation by an independent judging committee. The winners were selected by expert judges representing architecture, engineering, construction, real estate development, forestry, and sustainability. They included Joe Allbright, Senior Director, Corporate Real Estate, Walmart; Ted Black, Chief Deputy Utah State Fire Marshal, Utah State; Kathryn Fernholz, President/CEO, Dovetail Partners; Julia Gisewite, Chief Sustainability Officer, Turner Construction Company; Tim Gokhman, Managing Director, New Land Enterprises; Jordan Komp, P.E., S.E., Vice President and MKE Office Director, Thornton Tomasetti; Anne Schopf, FAIA, Partner, Mahlum; Wil V. Srubar III, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Colorado Boulder; and Joe Vaughn, Key Account Manager, Natural Capital Exchange, NCX.
Winning proposals exemplified capabilities to design and construct mass timber buildings in the U.S. that are repeatable and scalable. Lessons learned from the competition will be shared with the broader design and construction community to help support future projects by sharing cost analyses, life cycle assessments, and other research results. The timber sourced for each project demonstrated sustainable forest management that contributes to forest and watershed health. Preference was given to projects that committed to using domestically harvested and manufactured mass timber.
To see the final list of award recipients, go to www.softwoodlumberboard.org/mass-timber-competition-building-to-net-zero.