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Forest Service seeks to give cash for wood products

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The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is seeking proposals for its 2016 Wood Innovations grant program.

The USFS said it will award approximately $5 million to projects that “substantially expand and accelerate wood energy and wood products markets.”

Grants can be to a maximum of $250,000 and typically cover two to three years of expenses. Past proposals have included new wood products created from local timber and marketing efforts for local wood products.

The application deadline is January 13. For more information or to apply, visit www.na.fs.fed.us/werc.

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November 4, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Paper, wood products manufacturers concerned about EPA’s Clean Power Plan

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American Wood Council (AWC) President and CEO Robert Glowinski and American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman have issued statements expressing concern about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Power Plan.

The plan, which aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, attempts to take action on climate change.

Robert Glowinski, president and CEO, AWC:

“The forest products industry operates in a highly competitive market and increases in our energy costs can significantly harm our competitiveness. Moreover, EPA’s biogenic accounting framework took steps to recognize the unique energy benefits of using biomass residuals, and EPA needs to fully recognize that carbon neutrality across their regulations. We will carefully consider all legal and legislative options to address our concerns.”

Donna Harman, president and CEO, AF&PA:

“We are reviewing both the final Clean Power Plan and the proposed Federal Implementation Plan to ensure that biomass energy produced from forest products manufacturing residuals is recognized as a carbon benefit to the atmosphere. We’re concerned that purchased electricity costs for manufacturers will increase as a result of this EPA action and the nation’s grid reliability will be further jeopardized. We believe that the final rule is an unprecedented federal intrusion on local energy mix decisions previously in the hands of the states and consumers.”

See an overview of the Clean Power Plan here.

www.awc.org

www.afandpa.org

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August 12, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Build or burn? Competition for wood on the rise

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Study investigates impacts of the material and energetic utilization of wood.

Wood is becoming an increasingly popular raw material – and not just in the construction sector. More and more private households and municipal authorities are also using wood for heating. All of which is driving competition for this desirable raw material. A team of researchers has been investigating the ecological, economic and social impacts that this “run on wood” could have in Bavaria.

2010 marked a turning point for the timber industry. For the first time since World War II, more wood was being used in Germany to produce energy such as heat and electricity than to create commodities such as construction materials, composite wood products or paper. This rise in demand for wood fuel was driven on the one hand by increased oil prices and, on the other, by government subsidies aimed at promoting the use of wood as a sustainable fuel.

A team of researchers coordinated by Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) has used three oil price scenarios to investigate how wood supply and demand in Bavaria could develop by 2035 and what the consequences of these trends might be. The aim of the study is to provide detailed data about efficient, sustainable wood consumption, which could then be used to support decisions made by politicians and businesses alike.

According to Professor Klaus Richter, chair of Wood Science at TUM, one of the key findings from the project was that using wood in cascades resulted in a number of ecological benefits: “Using wood as a building material first and then later as a fuel has advantages for the environment. Lumber is an important, long-term carbon sink and so we should be looking to use wood primarily as a building material.”

Wood becomes scarce as oil prices rise

In the two scenarios where prices rise, wood harvests are lower than in the baseline scenario. This is because forest owners – much like shareholders – initially wait for better prices before bringing their wood to market. When oil prices rise, forest owners sell a greater proportion of their wood for fuel and less of it as industrial wood for producing engineered wood or paper. In addition, overall demand for wood fuel rises as oil prices increase.

These scenarios clearly show that wood, in general, would become scarce. In order to meet demand, pellet imports would have to rise. In a scenario where oil prices remain at current levels, 46 percent of wood in Bavaria is used as fuel. In the event of prices doubling, this proportion would rise to 54 percent.

At the same time, capacities and production levels for the material utilization of wood in Bavaria would fall – even if the manufacturing industries were to introduce technical innovations or reduce capacity utilization. More wood products would have to be imported to make up for this shortfall in materials. Alternatively, industries would have to use more non-wood products.

Heating or construction – a question of sustainability

During the study, the researchers regarded wood consumption as a system. “It’s not simply a question of whether using wood as a fuel is more sustainable than using lumber to build a house,” explains project leader Prof. Gabriele Weber-Blaschke. “Both aspects are part of the same equation. For example, if we used all available wood as fuel, we would have to use less sustainable materials – such as steel or brick – for building houses.”

If demand for wood fuel continues to rise relative to the baseline year of 2010, imports and substitute products will also have to be factored in to the overall equation along with the resulting ecological, economic and social consequences.

See the full EurekAlert story here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/tum-bob042815.php

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May 8, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Wood roof systems offer unique opportunities

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Wood is increasingly becoming the building material of choice, as evident in the growing number of buildings featuring aesthetically striking wood roofs.

Wood roof structures, particularly in the low-rise residential market, are typically light frame construction: dimensional lumber joists or trusses sheathed with plywood. Mass timber, which consists of wood elements assembled into solid, uniform sections, are growing in popularity and offer a wide range of new possibilities, the REMI Network reports.

Mass timber roofs can be constructed using a variety of wood types and configurations, ranging from lumber boards nailed together on site to glued panels prefabricated in a shop. The simplest system is nail-laminated timber (NLT), where pieces of dimensional lumber are laid on edge and nailed together to form a solid deck. This type of deck was often used in warehouses built at the turn of the 20th century and has been adopted again in more modern buildings. Structurally, NLT functions as a one-way system, typically with a layer of plywood fastened to the top surface. The plywood helps create a structural diaphragm and also provides an even surface for application of the roofing membrane. Contractors can choose whether to build the decking in place or prefabricate panels that can be erected with a crane, depending on the project schedule and site constraints.

More recently developed mass timber alternatives to NLT include glued-laminated timber (GLT) and cross-laminated timber (CLT). GLT panels are fabricated with glulam stock, typically spruce or fir in western Canada and black spruce in eastern Canada, with the lams laid on edge to form a one-way system similar to NLT. CLT panels are fabricated with SPF (spruce-pine-fir) dimensional lumber stacked into layers, with the boards running in opposite directions in adjacent layers. This cross-wise orientation allows for some two-way structural action.

Advantages to mass timber roofs are structural, architectural, and environmental. The high strength-to-weight ratio of wood allows for light and efficient structure, which also helps reduce the overall building mass in areas of high seismicity. Architecturally, a wood ceiling helps create a warm aesthetic. Even with occupied roofs, the structure can often be left exposed by meeting the building code’s fire rating provisions for heavy timber construction. The use of wood, a carbon-sequestering material that can be locally sourced, also provides environmental benefits when compared with other available materials.

One of the main challenges of these roof systems, particularly in coastal British Columbia, is weather protection during construction. Keeping the structure dry is especially important at the roof, to ensure proper adherence of the roofing. If the structure is being prefabricated off site, one option is to “pre-skin” the panels in the shop with a waterproof membrane or vapour barrier. In cases where such application is not possible or the decking is built in place, on-site measures become even more critical.

See the full story here: https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/wood-roof-systems-offer-unique-opportunities/

Written by cabinettrends

May 1, 2015 at 7:00 am

USDA, WoodWorks partner to advance wood use in buildings

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United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a $1 million program to be implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service in partnership with the Wood Products Council’s WoodWorks (www.woodworks.org) initiative, to provide training for architects, engineers and builders related to the use of advanced wood materials in U.S. buildings.

The program supports both the president’s Climate Action Plan goal of preserving the role of forests in mitigating climate change and the objective of the recently signed 2014 Farm Bill to create rural jobs. In particular, it aligns with President Obama’s direction for his administration to work with the White House Rural Council to create a new “Made-in-Rural America” export investment initiative, which is aimed in part at helping rural businesses and leaders access new customers and markets, both at home and abroad.

“We appreciate Mr. Vilsack’s support of the WoodWorks program,” said Christopher McIver, chair of the Wood Products Council board and vice president of lumber, sales and corporate development for West Fraser. “WoodWorks has the unique role of working closely with design and construction professionals to provide education and project support related to the use of wood in buildings. We look forward to expanding this work in partnership with the USDA.”

“The market for wood and other forest products currently supports more than 1 million direct jobs, many in rural America,” said Jennifer Cover, executive director of WoodWorks. “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.”

Using wood from sustainably managed forests helps keep carbon out of the atmosphere because wood products require less fossil fuels to manufacture than other major building materials, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions, and because wood continues to store carbon absorbed from the atmosphere while the tree was growing. In the case of buildings, this carbon remains stored for the lifetime of the structure-or longer if the wood is reclaimed and re-used or manufactured into other products.

To encourage further advancement, the announcement also included plans for a prize competition to design and build wood high-rise demonstration projects.

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April 10, 2014 at 7:00 am

Keystone Wood Specialties proud to be American-made

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Keystone Wood Specialties says it is proud to be an American wholesale manufacturer of high-quality wood products for the custom cabinet, furniture and remodeling industries.

The company proudly displays its membership in American Made Matters, an organization of more than 250 companies whose mission is to “educate consumers that buying U.S.-made products strengthens the American Dream.” With very few exceptions, Keystone says everything that leaves its shop is made in America from American-grown hardwoods.

Keystone encourages Americans, whenever possible, to support American manufactured products. To learn more about Keystone’s American-made wood products, please visit www.keystonewood.com.

Written by cabinettrends

March 5, 2014 at 7:00 am

Maine Wood Concepts to be awarded for contributions to local forest-based economy

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The Maine Wood Products Association will present its Pine Tree Award to Maine Wood Concepts, a family owned and operated custom wood products company, in August for its contributions to innovation in the local forest-based economy.

The Fletcher family has guided the business since it started 40 years ago, right through the recent acquisition of a line of gourmet kitchen products.

“The Fletchers have used entrepreneurship, calculated risk-taking and perseverance to keep their company competitive,” said  Dan Crowley, executive director of the Maine Wood Products Association. “They have secured local markets for Maine’s high quality hardwoods and created good jobs in Maine while facing down foreign competition.”

In fall 2012, Maine Wood Concepts began negotiating a purchase agreement with the Vic Firth Company of Newport, Maine, for its line of wooden pepper mills, muddlers and rolling pins for the gourmet kitchen market. Vic Firth, a manufacturer of drumsticks and percussion accessories, wanted to see its line of gourmet kitchen products stay in Maine.

“When we started looking at Vic Firth’s kitchen products business, we knew it would require a radical transformation of our approach,” said Maine Wood Concepts President Doug Fletcher.

“We’re accustomed to producing many thousands of pieces per day, such as wooden nickels, tool handles, toy parts, and other components from several specialized machines. Taking on this type of high-end product and dealing with a wholly different customer base was a steep learning curve for us.”

To handle the acquisition, the Fletchers expanded the facility and trained more than 40 new teamm members, growing the workforce by 30 percent over nine months. Additionally, the Fletchers worked with a team through the Regional Wood Products Consortium to help Maine Wood Concepts through the transition.

“As Maine’s once-vibrant wood turnings sector has contracted over the years with plant closures and loss of jobs to overseas competition, Maine Wood Concepts has acquired other turning companies, keeping jobs and a proud heritage of wood turnings manufacturing in Maine,” said Collin Miller, director of wood products initiatives.

“We’re anticipating a 30 percent growth in sales with the new acquisition,” said Fletcher. To learn more about the company, please visit www.fletchersmill.com.

Written by cabinettrends

August 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

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