The following is a press release from the U.S Endowment for Forestry and Communities.
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS), today announced the initiation of the Mass Timber University Grant Program (Grant Program) and related Request for Proposals (RFP) to promote the construction of mass timber buildings on institutions of higher learning campuses across the U.S. The intent of the Grant Program is to inspire interest in and support for mass timber products among the architectural, developer and building communities as well as the public, by showcasing them in highly-visible projects on university campuses.
“Increased use of mass timber in construction is a triple win: for our nation’s forests, our rural economies, and builders. Demand for sustainably-sourced wood helps provide a market incentive for forest retention, management and stewardship activities that reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire,” said Steve Marshall, Assistant Director of Cooperative Forestry, USFS. “Colleges and universities are building at an incredible rate and we want to support their use of mass timber while educating the next generation of decision-makers about sustainable building solutions that support our forests.”
The goals of this Grant Program are threefold: to break through barriers related to designing and constructing a cost competitive, code compliant mass timber building; to showcase the viability, application, repeatability, and sustainability of mass timber construction across the country; and to clearly illustrate the direct link between the use of mass timber components and the health and resiliency of U.S. forests and economic development opportunities in rural communities.
“Mass timber demonstration projects are important in that they increase understanding at the local permitting and approval agencies, as well as with design practitioners, developers and construction contractors, around the beauty and versatility of these products,” said Carlton Owen, President and CEO of the Endowment. “Such demonstration projects will help speed adoption of recent code changes approved by the International Code Council that will allow mass timber applications in building up to 18 stories tall from the current six-story limit.”
The funds available will support costs associated with pioneering the use of mass timber products and systems in buildings and open the door for more widespread adoption of these innovative building materials. The intent is to assist with off-setting costs often associated with review and planning for emerging building technologies whether in new construction or retrofit projects. Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education (e.g., universities, colleges, technical schools) and their design and construction partners. Proposal submission deadline is May 31, 2019, and award announcements will be made around August 1, 2019. More details and the RFP application can be found at the Endowment’s RFP page.