Congress is considering a new bill that would promote the use of wood to construct tall buildings.
The Senate and House has introduced the “Timber Innovation Act” to the support of several timber industry trade groups.
The bills would establish a performance driven research and development program for advancing tall wood building construction in the United States; 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.
They would also authorize technical assistance from 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; and incentivize the retrofitting of existing facilities located in areas with high unemployment rates, to spur job creation in rural areas.
“Mass timber buildings have existed for centuries, from Japanese wood pagodas built in the 7th century that still stand to the North American heavy timber structures that have stood for the last 100 years. The United States has an opportunity to bring new, sustainable mass timber technology to our construction industry, and the Timber Innovation Act directs technical assistance and research components already in place. Building construction using wood and mass timber products directly supports jobs in areas of rural America that have yet to recover from the recession and would lessen our dependence on fossil-fuel intensive alternatives, so having the federal government encourage further development of this emerging construction technology stands to benefit and enhance both infrastructure development and putting people to work. AWC thanks all of the cosponsors for leading on the Timber Innovation Act,” said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski.
“Mass timber technology is revolutionizing and disrupting the way buildings are being built around the world. Unfortunately, the United States has been trailing other markets in this regard. The Timber Innovation Act will significantly contribute to enhancing our industry’s ability to close the knowledge gap and stimulate private sector investment that supports manufacturing and job growth in rural communities, optimizes the construction process and regains our leadership position,” said Cees de Jager, BSLC general manager.
“Our nation’s private forests provide extraordinary benefits to the natural and human environment. Building larger and taller buildings with wood as envisioned under the Timber Innovation Act combines and magnifies these benefits by putting people back to work – especially in rural communities – and supporting forest investments that provide wildlife habitat, clean water and fresh air,” said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO.