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High-rise timber structures 'could boost US imports'

08-04-2014 kl. 16:53
The US may be set to significantly increase the amount of softwood it imports, following the launch of a new competition announced by the government yesterday (April 7th). 

Under the $1 million initiative, architects and construction firms will be encouraged to use timber as a structural material, in a move that will compliment a project from the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB). 

In an effort to encourage buildings similar to the nine-storey Stadthaus in London and Melbourne's ten-level Forte apartment block, the US government is running the competition to highlight the architectural and commercial viability of utilising wood in tall buildings.

Run by the Forest Service and in partnership with the Wood Product Council's WoodWorks scheme, the initiative is set to provide training for architects, engineers and construction workers in how to effectively make use of advanced wood materials in multi-storey buildings.

Jennifer Cover, executive director at WoodWorks, said: "As advanced wood products allow the use of wood in a greater variety of buildings - including wood high-rises - we can increase the role of forests in mitigating climate change while strengthening rural economies."
 
Under the scheme, the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architecture firm has designed a blueprint for a cross-laminated timber and concrete 42-storey apartment block. This is a replica of Chicago's Dewitt-Chestnut building, which was originally designed by the company in 1966 and constructed using a steel and concrete frame.

According to the practice, the design would be technically and economically viable and the carbon footprint produced is forecast to be around 60-90 per cent smaller than equivalent structures utilising alternative materials.

The SLB estimates that if this practice was to catch on widely across the US, the country's consumption of softwood would soar to around six billion board feet per year, which would require the nation to increase its timber imports - potentially boosting demand from countries with flourishing forestry industries.

HD FestForest provides forest management in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and is a subsidiary company of HedeDanmark.ADNFCR-731-ID-801710973-ADNFCR
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