Washington, DC — March 18, 2014 — The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) applauds USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement on the benefits of using wood in taller buildings at today’s workshop “ Building with Wood: Jobs and the Environment” hosted by the White House Rural Council.

Secretary Tom Vilsack announced their intent to invest $1,000,000 in the SLB-funded WoodWorks program (www.woodworks.org) and up to $1,000,000 for a tall wood building competition that will accelerate technology transfer and implementation of expanded uses of wood products for building construction in the U.S. USDA’s announcements were matched by the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) which indicated its intent to provide an additional $1,000,000 for the project.

“The Softwood Lumber Board is delighted to have USDA as a funding partner for the WoodWorks program to provide technical support, education, and resources related to the design of modern wood buildings to architects, engineers, and developers.” said Mr. Stephen Lovett, CEO of the SLB. “We are equally enthused and supportive of the partnership between the USDA and the BSLC on the tall wood building competition. These are exciting times for our industry and the communities and jobs that rely on it,” he added.

Across the U.S., wood product businesses support more than 1 million jobs and provide billions in economic growth in rural communities. The benefits of using wood obtained through sustainable forestry practices include green building, a smaller carbon footprint and creation of jobs, often in rural areas. A recent lifecycle analysis found that harvesting, transporting, manufacturing, and using wood for structural and appearance products yields fewer air emissions–including greenhouse gases–than the resource extraction, manufacture, and use of other common building materials*.

The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) is an industry funded research and promotion program operating under the auspices of USDA. It was 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 focus on increasing the demand for appearance and softwood lumber products in the United States.


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Steve Lovett

Pete Andrews

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*Data compiled by the Canadian Wood Council using the ATHENA EcoCalculator with a data set for Toronto, Ontario.