To promote construction of tall mass timber buildings in the U.S., the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and USDA Forest Service (USDA) have joined forces on a competition to showcase mass timber’s application, commercial viability, and role as a natural climate solution.
The entry period is now open for the Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon. The competition will award funds totaling $2 million to support projects that “demonstrate mass timber’s application across select building types and ability to aggressively reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment,” according to a news release.
Many jurisdictions now prohibit wood-framed buildings higher than 5-6 stories due to fire hazard concerns. The competition is part of an effort by the lumber industry to change that mindset. However, the 2021 edition of the International Building Code increased the maximum height for mass timber buildings in the U.S. to 18 stories. California, Maine, Oegon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington have adopted this standard, as have Denver and Austin, Texas.
The entry deadline is March 30, 2022, and results will be announced June 24, 2022, at the AIA Conference on Architecture. Lessons learned from the competition will be shared with the design and construction community including cost analyses, life cycle assessments, and other research results. Eligible building types include commercial, institutional, industrial, educational, mixed-use, and multifamily housing developments.
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