Building green: Colorado trees could be new construction resource Email
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 10:00 AM


Federal Center South SeattleBuilding with wood is poised to be the next big trend in green construction and the United States Forest Service (USFS) is working diligently to make it a reality.

The environmental benefit of using wood in building products creates fewer greenhouse gasses than commonly used materials. And wood – including beetle-killed trees - harvested from Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain region could become a major resource in this next step of green building.

“In the Rockies alone, we have hundreds of thousands of dead trees killed by bark beetles that could find their way into the building supply chain for all types of buildings,” says USFS Chief Tom Tidwell. “Taking a harder look at wood as a green building source could reduce the damages posed by future fires, maintain overall forest health and provide jobs.”

Increasingly, architects and contractors are returning to wood as a renewable, sturdy, all-purpose material. Some believe there has been an undue reliance for decades on concrete and steel.

USFS along with WoodWorks, a nonprofit organization, are actively promoting the use of wood in commercial buildings. Wood buildings store tremendous amounts of carbon and reduce the fossil energy needed for construction in contrast to the energy required to produce concrete, steel and aluminum.

The partnership is also promoting the use of Cross Laminated Timber, a building product that can facilitate making high-rise structures with wood. USFS and several other organizations have joined forces to provide $2 million to incentivize construction of the first high rise in the U.S. made with wood.

Information courtesy U. S. Department of Agriculture. Photo: The Federal Center South, Building 1202, Seattle, WA, recipient of WoodWorks 2014 Commercial Wood Design Award

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Why one company puts skills first
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