Limnologen in Växjö, Sweden by Arkitektbolaget Kronoberg. Photo credit: Midroc Property Development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in a cooperative partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council is conducting a prize competition funding initiative to support the demonstration of tall wood buildings in the United States. The U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition (the “Competition”) is being conducted to showcase the architectural and commercial viability of advanced wood products in tall building construction in order to support employment opportunities in rural communities, maintain the health and resiliency of the Nation's forests, and advance sustainability in the built environment.
Using wood obtained through sustainable forestry practices in green building applications promotes a healthy environment and a strong economy. The timber industry is an important job creator and supports hundreds of local communities, many of them rural. A recent life cycle analysis found that harvesting, transporting, manufacturing, and using wood in lumber and panel products in building yields fewer air emissions—including greenhouse gases—than the resource extraction, manufacture, and use of other common building materials.
There are barriers to being the first to adopt new building materials and systems, most notably the costs of analyzing novel design and engineering alternatives and verifying that these solutions comply with applicable code(s). The funds made available for the Competition will support costs associated with pioneering the use of advanced wood products and systems in tall buildings and open the door for more widespread adoption of the innovative materials.
The objective of the Competition is to identify one or more proponents with existing viable projects and capable design and construction teams willing to convert their existing project from a traditionally constructed tall building to a design and construction approach using advanced wood building materials, new composite or hybrid wood methods, and/or existing proven alternative solution techniques.
The Competition prize purse will be awarded to selected proponent(s) to cover the incremental costs of converting from traditional construction to wood construction. The selected proponent(s) will be the team demonstrating the best ability to utilize new scientific data, to develop technical expertise, and to use incremental funding to safely design, specify, and construct a building of a minimum of eighty feet (80') in height (not including a reinforced concrete podium) in the United States of America that can showcase the application, practicality, and sustainability of innovative wood based structural building solutions in tall building construction.
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