Tall wood building proponents reach for federal R&D, market development subsidies

Sources: Office of Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID); American Wood Council, Leesburg, Va.; CP staff

Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) have introduced the Timber Innovation Act (S.2982) to “help accelerate research and development—and ultimately construction—of wood buildings in the United States [and] focus on finding innovative ways to use wood in the construction of buildings above 85 feet in height or roughly seven or more stories.”

“Idaho is recognized as a national leader in wood products research and development,” says Senator Crapo. “It is natural that Idahoans help foster the next major development for the industry, that of taller, wood-frame construction. This legislation will fuel jobs and research good for both consumers and industry.”

“Wood construction is a winner for our rural economies and environment,” adds Senator Stabenow. “Our bill helps drive a new market for forest products—keeping loggers at work in the woods and helping to sustain rural communities. At the same time, using wood for construction reduces carbon pollution and gives private landowners an economic incentive to keep their land forested, instead of parceling it up for development.”

The Timber Innovation Act would incentivize investment through the National Forest Products Lab plus American colleges and universities to conduct research and development on new methods for wood building practice; and fund Department of Agriculture efforts to support the use of wood products as a building material for tall buildings, authorizing for five years the agency’s annual Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. Also sponsoring the bill are Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). Among supporters are the American Wood Council, ringleader of the reThink Wood campaign promoting cross laminated timber and other engineered wood products for mid-rise and taller buildings; National Wildlife Federation; and, forestry products giant Weyerhaeuser Co.

“Advancing the construction of tall wood buildings will help lower the cost of building construction and reduce reliance on fossil fuel-intensive materials,” claims American Wood Council CEO Robert Glowinski. “This in turn helps avoid production of greenhouse gases that would have otherwise been emitted during manufacture of alternative products. Given the many national benefits that would occur as a result of bill’s passage, the United States has an opportunity to accelerate and lead in the adoption of tall wood buildings and significantly expand markets for wood products.”

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