MIT research highlights the benefits of lumber; SLB Quarterly Report looks at direction of SLB after successful referendum; Think Wood at AIA, and more.                                                                                                              

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July 2018

MIT Research Highlights the Benefits of Lumber

Funded in part by the Softwood Lumber Board, research by MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change quantifies the economic and carbon emission benefits of substituting lumber-based building materials for carbon-intensive sectors such as cement.

Researchers found that the CO2 intensity of lumber production is about 20% less than that of fabricated metal products, less than 50% that of iron and steel, and less than  25% that of cement. Across the range of substitution options, the GDP savings range from less than $50 million to more than $2 billion. Given the advances in engineered wood products such as mass timber, researchers suggest that it seems likely that the actual substitution potentials may be toward the middle or high end of this range.

This study provides strong and credible third-party validation of one of our key message points–that building with softwood lumber is the right choice for the economy and the environment.

Download the report here.

SLB Quarterly Report Available Online
The Softwood Lumber Board’s Q1 Report offers a look at the direction of the SLB following the successful referendum.  It reviews opportunities in various market segments, including new opportunities that will be available as the result of advances in mass timber and export market development.  Read it here.
Think Wood Builds Strategic Relationships With Pro-Wood Experts at AIA 2018

This year’s American Institute of Architects (AIA) annual conference was in New York City, a high-profile opportunity where Think Wood’s striking new pro-wood displays showed what’s possible in wood construction to a highly engaged audience of architects, builders, and developers. Think Wood helped create a unified wood presence, capturing quality leads for WoodWorks, American Wood Council, NELMA, WWPA, and SFPA to assist and provide detailed answers to specific project questions. High-profile, in-person events continue to be another a strong driver of building trust while maintaining awareness and open lines of communication across these SLB-funded programs.

Expert Hour at AIA
Think Wood hosted a first-ever Expert Hour that proactively brought together 20 experts with experience in building and planning prominent wood structures. This group of architects and engineers discussed and shared their current projects and lessons learned with each other, media, and attendees. By bringing together a high-caliber group of pro-wood experts from the design industry, Think Wood continues to play a role in nurturing critical professional collaborations to seed the design teams that are critical for getting innovative wood structures built.

Think Wood facilitated numerous media interactions, including discussions with ArchDaily to provide story ideas for potential upcoming features and The Architect’s Newspaper to serve as a follow-up to its initial mass timber issue. To see more pictures of the event,click here.

Wood, Naturally Influencers Promote Aesthetic and Economic Benefits of Wood Decks

In a continued focus on deck season, Wood, Naturally is partnering with contractors and designers to create credible and authentic content that refutes false competitor claims and highlights wood’s benefits. In June, Jen Woodhouse, a third-party influencer engaged by Wood, Naturally, published a blog post, $10k Deck: Wood vs. Composite, that illustrated in a side-by-side comparison the affordability of a pressure-treated wood deck relative to a composite deck, which was only half the size. Wood, Naturallypromoted it on Facebook, resulting in16k engagements. Her Facebook post drove the most responses of any branded posts in June, as people shared their own wood decks and expressed love for wood over composite, with comments such as “love this! However—never composite—ever” and “I’ve seen far more dissatisfied customers with composite decks than I ever have with wood.”

The campaign also worked with Sandra Powell (“Sawdust Girl”) to publish video, blog, and social content on How to Build a Deck With Pressure Treated Wood. Her content was viewed 295k times and drove 16.4k engagements among her audience, all without any paid support.

Diversification of WoodWorks’ Product Mix Extends to Industrial Buildings
WoodWorks is expanding the breadth of building types it supports to both increase softwood lumber’s market share and insulate the market against sways in any one particular segment. The conversion of the Plumas County Biomass Boiler building, from steel to CLT, is the result of WoodWorks’ assistance with industrial construction building types; part of a broader approach in 2018. The owner of the building, the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, had a desire to construct the building in the most environmentally friendly way possible and had its eye on CLT, but too many unknowns existed to move forward in wood. WoodWorks’ extensive network among the build community came into play—a colleague of the project manager knew she could put her in contact with WoodWorks to receive the information she needed to make the building a reality. Once the costing of the building became known, the team went forward with wood to make the building California’s first structure to use CLT for both gravity and lateral systems.
Online Resilience Twitter Chat Supports Building Safety
Recently, AWC organized and hosted a Twitter chat on building resiliency. With #AWCResilienceChat as a “handle,” the Q&A format allowed responses from an invited panel of experts to highlight how to protect homes and communities from extreme weather and natural disasters. For this chat, the panel included experts from the International Code Council (ICC), National Institute of Building Sciences, Simpson Strong-Tie, and AWC’s Vice President of Technology Transfer, Buddy Showalter. The chat quickly reached 25,005 individual Twitter accounts, with 297,512 impressions (number of times tweets from the session were seen).
FEA’s Housing Dashboard
This housing dashboard is provided compliments of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA).
Virginia Tech’s Monthly Housing Report
This monthly housing commentary report is a free service of Virginia Tech and is intended to help one gauge future business activity in the U.S. housing market.
Transformation in the Construction Industry: Builders Turn to Offsite Construction to Offset Labor Costs and Lumber Prices

Builder Magazine
June 26, 2018

In central Florida, as in many markets around the United States, builders feel the brunt of both labor capacity constraints and lumber price hikes, playing havoc with input cost pro formas and gross margins.  Additionally, builders are having trouble lining up framing crews to fit tight start-to-completion schedules, all factors that impact their ability to deliver homes within price tolerances of home buyers and still make money.  As a solution, more and more builders are turning to high-volume offsite construction to cut waste, reduce labor requirements, and deliver on time and on budget.  Read more here.

Mass Timber and the Supply Chain: How Developing Changes in Mass/Tall Timber Codes Will Open New Markets
Building Design + Construction
July 2, 2018
Judging by the outcome of the International Code Council (ICC) Group A Committee Action Hearing, April 15-23, in Columbus, Ohio, it’s likely that we will be seeing more and taller mass timber buildings across the country very soon. At the heart of the committee’s proposals are three new kinds of Type IV mass timber construction, offering design options well beyond the current limits for heavy timber under the code. The ICC code changes, supported by testing, will usher in a new era in the construction of buildings in the low- to mid-rise market, where new options abound. Already, significant investment in the production of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, the most popular mass timber application, has made tall mass timber buildings of up to 18 stories a cost-effective option for builders. Read more here.
How Silicon Valley Plans to Disrupt the Construction Industry

CityLab (Photo Credit: Katerra)
June 25, 2018

In the last 50 years, productivity has surged across the U.S. economy—from manufacturing to retail, industry after industry has become cheaper, faster, more mechanized, more efficient. But it’s not true of construction—where productivity has stagnated since 1968. Silicon Valley has noticed—and plans to step in with vertical integration of design and construction. Companies like Katerra see how construction efficiencies and economies of scale can be made in both manufacturing and design. Learn more on how this could affect the lumber industry  here.

Watch Progress as Soon-to-Be World’s Tallest Wood Building Is Under Way

At 24 stories and 275 feet (84 meters) the HoHo building in Vienna will soon be the world’s tallest wood building.  Watch and follow along while the building is under construction.


Highlights of news and stories released by competing materials
Concrete’s Build With Strength Campaigns Turns Focus to Lumber Prices and School Buildings
Build With Strength (BWS), a coalition of ready mixed concrete producers, has produced an advertisement focusing on lumber prices.  Additionally, BWS has developed a campaign that seeks to convince school officials to build with concrete. BWS has developed 11 new videos focusing on the elementary school in Richardsville, KY, which has an Insulated Concrete Form construction. The campaign seeks to convince districts that the safest form of construction is concrete. The campaign may be viewed here.
SOFTWOOD LUMBER BOARDThe Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) is an industry-funded initiative established to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products in outdoor, residential and non-residential construction. Programs and initiatives supported by the SLB will focus on increasing the demand for appearance and softwood lumber products in the United States.

Softwood Lumber Board
1101 K St. NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-463-4705  info@softwoodlumberboard.org   Twitter: @LumberBoard

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