In a news release earlier this year, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “announced a new partnership to train architects, engineers and builders about the benefits of advanced wood building materials, and plans for a forthcoming prize competition to design and build high-rise wood demonstration projects.
Innovative use of wood products is already beginning to change the face of construction across the country, and USDA is undertaking efforts to support these advancements.”
Expected to begin later this year, “the competition will help spur increased sustainability in construction and will give priority to applicants that source materials from rural domestic manufacturers and domestic, sustainably-managed forests.”
As part of the USDA’s overall strategy “to promote the use of wood as a green building material, the Forest Products laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin has invested over $2 million in research and technical support for emerging wood technologies.” These technologies “can be used in industrial building projects such as tall buildings and skyscrapers, as well as other projects.”
The potential is significant. “By some industry estimates, a 3-5 story building made from emerging wood technologies has the same emissions control as taking up to 550 cars off of the road, for one year. Wood-based designs have also been demonstrated to improve energy efficiency, thereby reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling.”
More information, here.