Softwood Lumber Board to support six 2022 Wood Innovation Grant projects

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the awarding of more than US$32 million to fund 2022 wood innovations and community wood grants to expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood markets, and support active management to improve forest health and resilience, especially in light of the wildfire crisis across US.

The Wood Innovation Grant (WIG) programme is supported by the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB), with over $272,000 in matching funds for six projects that will explore and elevate the use of mass timber and mass timber products in commercial and residential construction applications.

“The WIG programme has been encouraging deeper study and more innovative applications of wood products,” said Cees de Jager, president of SLB. “The SLB enthusiastically supports these six projects that will pave the way for others to follow with greater confidence and creativity.”

The six projects that have been awarded grants are described briefly below:

Waechter Architecture, KPPF received $40,000 from 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.

Karagozian & Case, and SmartLam received $50,000 from SLB to build upon a previous WIG grant to construct full-scale cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels with steel reinforcement. They will now test the effectiveness of reinforced CLT panels under extreme conditions through blast testing and hygrothermal testing.

Equilibrium Consulting received $40,000 from SLB to make improvements to preliminary tools designed to improve the efficiency and accuracy of CLT floor, roof, and wall design and will also begin to distribute the tools to the engineering community.

The Georgia Forestry Foundation received $22,500 from SLB to develop a mass timber demonstration project in partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology. The project will seek to position mass timber as a solution for sustainable development while building awareness of Georgia, US’s working forests.

Sustainable Northwest received $50,000 from SLB for its “Building Projects with Positive Impact” project, which will support intentional wood procurement for five pilot projects across multiple scales, ownerships, and construction types.

The Neutral Project received $70,000 from SLB to complete the necessary architecture, engineering, fire safety, building code analysis, sustainability quantification, and pre-construction cost analysis for the completion of two high-rise, mass timber, mixed-used, multi-family developments in Wisconsin: Bakers Place and The Edison.