USDA announces partnership to promote the use of wood

usdaUnited States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced a $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service program to provide training for architects, engineers and builders in the use of advanced wood materials. The Wood Products Council’s WoodWorks initiative will be a partner in this program.

The program is part of the president’s goal of preserving the role of forests in mitigating climate change and meets an objective of the recently-signed 2014 Farm Bill to create rural jobs. In particular, it will create a new Made-in-Rural America export investment initiative, whose goal is helping rural businesses and leaders gain new customers and develop new markets, both at home and abroad.

Using wood from sustainably managed forests helps keep carbon out of the atmosphere because wood products require less fossil fuels to manufacture than other major building materials, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions, and because wood continues to store carbon absorbed from the atmosphere while the tree was growing. In the case of buildings, this carbon remains stored for the lifetime of the structure—or longer if the wood is reclaimed and re-used or manufactured into other products.

To encourage further advancement, the announcement also includes plans for a prize competition to design and build wood high-rise demonstration projects.

Fair focused on wood use in commercial buildings

To the casual observer, wood is rarely included in the materials list for commercial buildings. But that’s not necessarily the case. Learn more at the Wood Solutions Fair, organized by the people at WoodWorks for Non-residential Construction, Tacoma, WA.
   The fair will be held Oct. 29 at the Univ. of Illinois-Chicago Forum, Chicago. It is a free, multi-faceted, day-long educational event on the use of wood in commercial buildings. It combines topical seminars with relevant trade booths to deliver a comprehensive educational experience for architects, engineers, builders, building designers, and specifiers. WoodWorks is an approved AIA provider and attendees qualify for six HSW credits.
   For more information, visit www.woodworks.org.—Gary L. Parr