Research conducted here at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) indicates that the greatest obstacle for acceptance of wood as a structural material is education and technology transfer.
So it stands to reason that if more construction professionals were aware of the applications for wood in commercial construction, more buildings could be made from this cost-effective green material, thereby reducing carbon footprint and improving forest health.
Commercial construction using cross-laminated timber.
Of all commercial construction projects that could be designed using wood, only 28 percent actually are. An annual market opportunity exists for an additional 6.8 billion board feet of wood products to be used in commercial construction, multifamily projects, and emerging tall wood buildings.
Enter WoodWorks, the only national program dedicated to educating architects and engineers on the correct structural design and use of wood.
Through hundreds of workshops, seminars, and Wood Solutions Fairs held across the country each year, WoodWorks delivers science findings in real time to architects, engineers, and other individuals who can put the information to immediate use in building projects. In addition to these large events, WoodWorks also offers free one-on-one project assistance.
From information on the latest in wood technology to practical design tips, construction professionals can turn to WoodWorks for support as they transition to incorporating more wood into their designs.
Here at FPL, we’re committed to increasing the use of cutting-edge wood technologies for use in nonresidential construction. A shift in focus away from products that are more fossil-fuel-intensive to manufacture can significantly affect the health of our nation’s forests, as strong markets for wood products are essential to forest restoration and conservation.
For more on WoodWorks and their partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, see this Research In Progress report.