CORVALLIS, Ore. – The federal Economic Development Administration has approved a grant of nearly $450,000 to Oregon State University to jump-start the use of new engineered wood products in the building industry.
The National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design, a collaboration between Oregon State and the University of Oregon, will develop testing to help integrate mass timber construction into Oregon’s building code standards, while maintaining a close working relationship with the Oregon Building Codes Division.
The goal of the center is to develop new wood products, such as cross laminated timber, or CLT panels, that can be manufactured and certified for use in Oregon. It will also try to create economic opportunities for rural communities that have lost jobs to globalized commodity markets and dramatically reduced harvest levels.
“Code approval for new uses of wood products in these markets requires dedicated performance testing,” said Geoff Huntington, director of strategic initiatives for the OSU College of Forestry. “This testing is key to unlocking the engineered wood supply chain to meet growing demand.”
Developers in the Northwest and Pacific Rim countries may use CLT for its resilient, energy-efficient properties. The D.R. Johnson Lumber Company in Riddle, Oregon, has become the nation’s first certified manufacturer of CLT for construction purposes.
“We will use funds to work with manufacturers and commercial developers to complete performance testing of Oregon-manufactured wood building components for specific projects,” said Huntington. “Our objective is to make CLT and other innovative uses of mass timber products technically feasible, economically viable and accessible alternatives for architects and developers seeking to use Oregon products to meet growing consumer demand for healthy, sustainable buildings.”
Projects using innovative mass timber projects are already in the planning stages in Portland and Corvallis. In Portland, LEVER Architecture is designing a 12-story CLT building in the Pearl District, and in Corvallis, OSU plans to use the material in constructing new teaching and research facilities for the College of Forestry.