Western Region Wood Building Workshop, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, March 29-30, 2012
Why A Workshop?
Beetle-killed pine is abundant in the North American mountain west. A study by researchers at Colorado State University, for example, found that in 2008, two million acres (44%) of Colorado's National Forest were subject to mountain pine beetle infestation. This is double the 2006 total and represents a significant fire and safety hazard.
Wood from beetle-killed pine trees can be used for fuel, directly as chips/ground material or converted to pellets for stoves and boilers. Using this wood for bioenergy purposes is not currently economically feasible, however, due to harvesting and transportation costs, among other factors. Burning this wood also releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Timber from these trees can be used for higher value purposes, such as in commercial construction, which has the added benefit of also storing CO2 over a longer time. Residual materials from the harvesting process can still be used for bioenergy applications.
This workshop brought together leaders in government and academic research and industry practice to help realize the full lifecycle potential of sourcing, milling, fabricating, assembling, and marketing designs for various wood products and structures using beetle-killed timber.
Video - Wasted Wood Sees new Life in Interlocking Cross Laminated Timber (I-CLT)
Underutilized Wood - This workshop session focused on explaining the extent of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, potential solutions to infestation, use of small diameter wood, environmental impacts and benefits, economic and political implications, and barriers and benefit for using beetle-killed wood in buildings.
Research & Development Products - The focus of this session was on identifying potentials, barriers and collaborations for research and development using underutilized timber products; discussion of technology transfer opportunities using internationally sourced wood products in North American markets; cross laminated timber products; and collaborative research among university and industry groups.