Tree Frog Forestry News

Daily Archives: November 16, 2017

Today’s Takeaway

US Softwood lumber prices near all-time high

The Tree Frog Forestry News
November 16, 2017
Category: Today's Takeaway

High demand and tight supply sent US softwood lumber prices to near-record highs Wednesday but analysts say it won’t last as offshore imports increase and builders switch to alternative products.

In other Business news: Tolko commits to rebuild its fire-damaged sawmill in Williams Lake (although it could be closed for six months); a trade expert says the softwood dispute underscores the need for NAFTA’s dispute mechanism; and an FEA report highlights the importance of softwood lumber in terms of US jobs and payroll.

On the Forestry front: more than a million hectares of BC’s burnt forest will only be economical for a few short years; five BC mayors want to improve the amount of wood fibre available for local mills; a California environmental group is seeking a countywide ban on clearcutting; and Rep. Jim Walsh wants to minimize the economic damage of plans to save murrelet habitat.

Finally, COP 23 is generating renewed interest in forest restoration and sustainable biomass.

— Kelly McCloskey, Tree Frog Editor

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Forestry

Huge salvage job ahead in B.C. forests

By Les Leyne
Victoria Times Colonist
November 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Les Leyne

There’s a brief window ahead for loggers to go into forests ravaged by fire last summer and extract what they can. The opportunity lasts only until scorched timber starts to rot, a few short years, at best. More than a million hectares of forest were burned this year — almost 10 times the average for wildfire seasons — so it’s a huge area of opportunity, but it will be economically viable only for a relatively brief time.  Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has been pushed in the legislature by B.C. Liberal critics to do what he can to expedite the salvage job….After touring B.C. to get input on what should be in next February’s budget, the finance committee released a report that takes special note of the wildfires’ impact. … It highlighted two recommendations — increase funding for forest management generally, and “incentivize the remediation and salvage of burnt timber.”

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Fatality at TimberWest Honeymoon Bay Operations

TimberWest Press Release
November 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lake Cowichan: A fatal logging truck accident occurred on Wednesday morning involving an employee of a contractor working for TimberWest near the Honeymoon Bay operations adjacent Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island. “We express our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues affected by this tragic accident. A fatality within our forest community deeply impacts all of us,” said Jeff Zweig president and CEO of TimberWest. “We are working closely with the RCMP, WorkSafe and our contractor on the investigation.” TimberWest has lent its full support to authorities in the ongoing investigation.

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Driver dead after logging truck plunges into water near Lake Cowichan

CTV News
November 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

A driver of a logging truck that veered off a road west of Lake Cowichan and plunged into water has died, an employer confirms. TimberWest said the fatal accident involved an employee of a contractor working for the company near its Honeymoon Bay operation. …The Ministry of Environment confirmed that the single logging truck was two kilometres past the Nixon River Bridge when it veered off the road into standing water. The truck was reportedly submerged, according to the ministry. …The ministry said the truck belongs to a sub-contractor for Caatza Logging. 

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Mayor warns of low wood supply

By Chris Bolster
Powell River Peak
November 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

BC coastal communities dependent on wood fibre are stepping up their advocacy for changes to provincial forestry practices that will help keep region’s mills operating, according to City of Powell River mayor Dave Formosa. Formosa addressed city council during its November 2 meeting and referred to a meeting of mayors and senior officials from BC Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations that was held in Victoria on October 30. “It was quite a meeting,” said Formosa. “Basically, we talked about the urgency for fibre in the industry.” Five mayors from Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast communities, along representatives from first nations and industry, met with the government officials to talk about changes that could implemented to improve the amount of wood fibre that is available for sawmills and pulp and paper operations.

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Obituary: B.C.’s logger poet Peter Trower dies at 87

By John Mackie
The Vancouver Sun
November 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Peter Trower

Peter Trower spent much of his youth working in logging camps. When he saved enough money, he’d come to Vancouver, blow it, then go back. It’s a standard tale of the B.C. woods from the 1950s and ‘60s. But Trower wasn’t a regular logger — he was a writer and artist. When he started publishing poetry and prose in the late ‘60s, he turned his experiences in the bush into subject matter for his work. He drew acclaim as an authentic voice from the woods, a true B.C. original — the logger poet. Trower died Nov. 10 at Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver after suffering from Alzheimer’s for a couple of years. He was 87, which is nothing short of remarkable, given his dissolute lifestyle. …“He got the (George) Woodcock Award (in 2002), and the Chalmers Award for his final collection of poetry.

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Local Environmental Group Submits Ballot Initiative to Recommend Clearcutting Ban in Humboldt County

By Ryan Burns
Lost Coast Outpost
November 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Environmental Protection Information Center, or EPIC, hopes Humboldt County voters will endorse a countywide ban on clearcutting and other timber industry practices that they say are harming water quality and wildlife habitat while exacerbating climate change. In a press release sent out this morning, the group says volunteers will be gathering signatures to get a measure on the general election ballot for November 2018. But the process of actually implementing such a ban isn’t quite so simple, as Humboldt County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck explains in his summary of the initiative: “State law gives exclusive authority to regulate the conduct of almost all timber operations to the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection.” So, in effect, even if voters approve the measure it would merely serve as a recommendation or request to the Board of Forestry.

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Forest Service prioritizes ecological repair, economic benefit in post-fire work

By Emily Hoard
The News-Review
November 15, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Since wildland firefighting crews extinguished the 56,000 acres of lightning-sparked fires across the Umpqua National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service has been busy completing post-fire work before the winter. Alice Carlton, forest supervisor for the Umpqua National Forest, is prioritizing ecological repair, roadside safety and economic support for local communities through several projects. The Forest Service is auctioning off the decks, or piles of logs cut during the fire suppression efforts, which Carlton said provides business and job creation for local mills.

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Seabird protections frustrating for Wahkiakum County

By Rose Lundy
Longview Daily News
November 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

New long-term plans to protect a threatened seabird has Southwest Washington legislators and a Wahkiakum County Commissioner frustrated, but conservationists say the plans won’t do enough to save the marbled murrelet. “None of the alternatives were good for Wahkiakum County,” commissioner Dan Cothren said Wednesday. “We’re probably hit the hardest because of the murrelet.”…Last week, the state Board of Natural Resources identified a long-term protection plan that would designate between 620,000 and 624,000 acres of state timberland for murrelet habitat and surrounding buffers. DNR representatives stressed that the numbers from this “preferred alternative” are all preliminary and will be investigated further in an environmental impact statement. State Rep. Jim Walsh, D-Aberdeen, said in a press release that the Nov. 7 decision by the Board of Natural Resources “will hurt smaller counties, cities and school districts that are already suffering from the loss of the timber industry.”

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Forestry proactive, pays its way

By Julian Kohn
The Gisborne Herald
November 16, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Readers may be interested to understand the facts of what Dame Anne Salmond is commenting about in her letter of November 7, 2017 (Forestry here far from FSC theory). 1. Of the three companies that are FSC certified in this district, two, Juken New Zealand Ltd and Hikurangi Forest Farms Ltd, are both heavily invested in processing in this region. 2. The three FSC-certified companies account for approximately half of the total afforested area in this region. 3. These companies, along with all forest owners, have been and still are ratepayers, just like everyone else. Unlike others, there has been a weighting on their rates for road maintenance of 4x for quite some years. Additionally, all are paying Road User Charges on trucks and any diesel vehicle that uses those roads. 4. There is no expectation that local ratepayers should subsidise the industry.

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Company & Business News

Softwood dispute underscores need for NAFTA dispute mechanism, trade expert says

By Mia Rabson
Canadian Press in the National Post
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

OTTAWA — Canada’s decision to turn to the North American Free Trade Agreement for a solution to the latest softwood lumber dispute proves how critical the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanisms are to this country, a Canadian international trade expert said Wednesday. Canada on Tuesday asked a review panel under Chapter 19 of NAFTA to investigate the countervailing duties imposed. …Colin Robertson, a former Canadian trade diplomat, said Wednesday it’s no surprise Canada made the application despite political battles with the U.S. over the very existence of the Chapter 19 dispute mechanism. “It would not be logical for us not to use it and we had to use it within a certain time frame so of course we’re going to apply it,” said Robertson. …Robertson said trade agreements were pursued by Canada… “to give us some relief from unfair application – and I stress unfair – of American trade law.”

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U.S. softwood lumber prices near all-time high as Canadian producers pass on duties to U.S. consumers

Jesse Snyder
The Vancouver Sun
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, United States

Softwood lumber prices in the U.S. soared to near-record highs Wednesday, as Canadian producers passed on higher export duties charged by the U.S. government straight on to American consumers. Prices for KD Western S-P-F, a common benchmark for softwood lumber exported into the U.S., was trading above US$494, near its all-time high, that appear to neutralize any potential impact of increased duties placed on Canadian exporters. Analysts say tightening markets are a key shift compared to the last time Canada and the U.S. were in a prolonged dispute over softwood lumber trade, which endured from 2001 to 2006. …High prices for lumber are not widely expected to last. Mason expects prices to level off closer to the US$400 range as the U.S. increases lumber imports from other countries and builders look for alternative materials and sources to softwood lumber.  

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China’s focus on green building a big opportunity for BC lumber industry

By Jeff Slack
My Prince George Now
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Doug Donaldson

Forest Minister Doug Donaldson… says talks have been efficient , with china trying to focus on carbon emissions reduction by increasing proportion of prefabricated construction in new structures to 30 per cent in the next 10 years. …Donaldson says the process is much quicker to start trade in Asia then they had expected. “Once the government gives direction things really translate into action on the ground in a manner we’re probably not as use to in BC.” Canada Wood China signed an memorandum of understanding with Yadong Construction and Development Group for future co-operation on the application and promotion of wood construction technology. In China, MOU’s are a first step in commercialization.

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Fines upheld for Babine sawmill explosion

By Mark Nielsen
Prince George Citizen
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

A WorkSafeBC review has upheld a decision to impose more than $1 million worth of penalties against Babine Forest Products for a catastrophic explosion and fire at the Burns Lake sawmill. In 2014, WorkSafeBC slapped a $97,500 administrative penalty and claims cost levy of $914,139.62 against the sawmill’s owner, Oregon-based Hampton Affiliates for the January 2012 conflagration which killed two workers and injured more than 20 others. Hampton subsequently requested a series of reviews, the latest being of a December 2015 in a decision by WorkSafeBC’s chief review officer to maintain the penalties. … A WorkSafeBC investigation concluded that wood dust was the major fuel for the explosion and fires. …But it also found little work had been done on the sawmill dust collection system even though the employer’s investigation of a February 2011 explosion and fire identified a “very large fuel load” of dry dust. 

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Tolko commits to rebuild fire-damaged sawmill in Williams Lake

Monica Lamb-Yorski
Williams Lake Tribune
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada, Canada West

Tolko Industries Ltd. said it is committed to rebuild its Lakeview Division sawmill where a fire damaged offices in the building earlier this month, but confirmed the sawmill could remain closed until next May. “It’s hard to say exactly how long the mill will be down for at this time as the engineering for the rebuild has yet to be completed,” general manager Troy Connolly stated in an e-mail Wednesday. “It could be as long as six months.” At this point, the cause of the fire is still under investigation and it will take a few more weeks before the company receives an investigation report, Lockyer added, noting the planer has continued to operate since Nov. 6, and will be running for “a little while yet.”

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Ontario vows transparency as testing at Dryden, Ont., mill site continues

CBC News
November 16, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Officials with Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment say all “methods, data and results” from an ongoing probe at the site of a Dryden, Ont., mill will be made public. The assessment that’s underway at the complex in Dryden is attempting to answer whether it is a continuing source of mercury contamination for the English-Wabigoon River system. “The site assessment is being completed through a transparent process that includes the involvement of First Nations,” said Gary Wheeler, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in an email to CBC News. “As part of this process, all methods, data and results from the assessment will be transparently shared with First Nations, stakeholders and members of the public,” he continued. 

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Rentech puts Atikokan pellet plant up for sale

By Gary Rinne
TB Newswatch
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

ATIKOKAN, Ont. — The U.S. company that owns a pellet plant in Atikokan is trying to sell the business. Tbnewswatch.com has been told that three prospective buyers are currently looking at the operation. But plant manager Brad Sampson says there are no plans to shut down the plant, which continues to produce wood pellets for the Ontario Power Generation station near Atikokan. About two dozen people work in the mill. …”I’m still very optimistic that the plant’s going to keep operating because they do have a contract with OPG for 10 years, and we’re only on year three,” said Mayor Dennis Brown.  

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Ontario premier says she never received Grassy Narrows mercury report

By Allison Jones
Canadian Press in the National Post
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Premier Kathleen Wynne

TORONTO — Ontario’s government has had a report in hand about mercury contamination upstream from the Grassy Narrows First Nation for more than a year, but the premier says she didn’t see it. Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister David Zimmer said this week the report was received by the government in September 2016. But it apparently never made its way to Premier Kathleen Wynne. “We are not sure exactly how that information hadn’t made it to my desk, but we’re asking that question,” Wynne said Wednesday. “It is always a concern if we don’t have the information that we need to make good decisions.”

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Central Nova MP hails U.S. softwood lumber exemption

By Fram Dinshaw
The News
November 15, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: Canada East, Canada

Central Nova MP Sean Fraser hailed the U.S. government’s move to exempt Nova Scotia’s softwood lumber industry from punitive border tariffs as “a very positive development.” Fraser said the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to spare Nova Scotia from tariffs will preserve hundreds of forestry jobs in Pictou County and throughout the province. …“It’s certainly something that we welcome and certainly something that we’ve worked hard for, to ensure that Nova Scotian industry players are protected,” Fraser told The News. In a release last week, the federal Liberals said the U.S. government’s decision to spare the province was proof that the provincial lumber industry was not unfairly subsidized.

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New Report Asserts Softwood Lumber’s Economic Impacts

Forest Economic Advisors
Softwood Lumber Board
November 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: United States

A new report by Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), commissioned by the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB), highlights the importance of softwood lumber manufacturing to the US economy and, in particular, the health of rural communities. Through both direct manufacture and via downstream industries that use softwood lumber as a primary input, FEA estimates that 775,674 jobs, with a total payroll of more than $46 billion, are tied to the softwood lumber manufacturing industry. There are currently 509 sawmills operating in 464 mostly rural communities across 32 states. …FEA also assessed the economic impacts of seven downstream industries that rely heavily on lumber as a primary input in their operations. …FEA’s findings confirm the importance of the SLB’s efforts to safeguard and increase softwood lumber’s market share, as literally tens of thousands of families in hundreds of different communities rely on a healthy, strong softwood lumber industry.

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Roughly half of all hardwood chips traded in the Pacific Rim have been destined for Chinese ports in the 1H/17

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International
November 13, 2017
Category: Company & Business News
Region: International

Pulpmills in China and Japan continue to rely on large volumes of imported hardwood wood chips from a number of countries around the Pacific Rim. The biggest changes in trade over the past five years, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly, have been the increase in chip exports from Vietnam, record import volumes to China and a shift in Australian export shipments from Japan to China.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

NRCan hosting Bioenergy for the Future event

By Natural Resources Canada
Canadian Biomass Magazine
November 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada
Achieving a low carbon future will be challenging and will require a comprehensive portfolio of technologies and policy measures. Sustainable biomass can play an important role in such low carbon scenarios but enhanced efforts are critical to accelerate its deployment. Natural Resources Canada is hosting a Bioenergy for the Future conference taking place Nov. 27 in Ottawa in advance of Scaling Up Bio. This event will highlight the public release of the IEA Technology Roadmap on Bioenergy. This roadmap provides modelling and scenario analysis confirming that bioenergy can make significant contribution to the carbon savings required by to address climate change.

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U.K. demand fuels 46 per cent rise in exports of Canadian wood pellets, NEB reports

Canadian Press in CTV News
November 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada

CALGARY — The National Energy Board says exports of Canadian wood pellets to be burned as biomass fuel jumped by 46 per cent in 2016 as demand soared in the United Kingdom. The federal agency says Canada exported 2.4 billion kilograms in 2016, making it the second-largest exporter by weight after the United States. About 70 per cent was shipped to the U.K. and 11 per cent to Japan. The Canadian industry has grown by 73 per cent over the past four years, the NEB says. About 65 per cent of Canada’s pellets are produced in British Columbia.

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Study Reveals New Source of Robust Cellulases in Compost

AZoCleantech
November 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

A recent study led by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), based at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), shows the significance of microbial communities as a source of stable enzymes that could be applied to convert plants to biofuels.  The study, just published in the journal Nature Microbiology, talks about the discovery of new types of cellulases, enzymes that aid in breaking down plants into ingredients that can be used to make bioproducts and biofuels. The cellulases were cultured from a microbiome. Using a microbial community deviates from the approach normally taken of using isolated organisms to get enzymes. The researchers initially examined the microbial menagerie found in a few cups of municipal compost.

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$2 billion investment in forest restoration announced at COP23

By Mike Gaworecki
Mongabay
November 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Last Thursday, at the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany (known as COP23), the World Resources Institute (WRI) announced that $2.1 billion in private investment funds have been committed to efforts to restore degraded lands in the Caribbean and Latin America. The investments will be made through WRI’s Initiative 20×20, which has already put 10 million hectares (about 25 million acres) of land under restoration thanks to 19 private investors who are supporting more than 40 restoration projects. Agriculture, forestry, and other land uses are responsible for about a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, but in Latin America and the Caribbean, they account for roughly half of all emissions.

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Amazon’s recovery from forest losses limited by climate change

By University of Edinburgh
EurekAlert
November 15, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

Deforested areas of the Amazon Basin have a limited ability to recover because of recent changes in climate, a study shows. Limited growth in a drier climate has restricted the amount of carbon that new trees can lock away from the atmosphere, reducing their ability to counteract the effects of global warming. Forests replanted today would likely be able to recapture only two-thirds of the carbon that they have lost to the atmosphere in the past 20 years through deforestation and climate change, researchers say. The findings could inform conservation strategies, including goals set out in the Paris Agreement, in which many countries have committed to reforestation.

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Forests are key to resilient growth and climate justice

By Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
Thomson Reuters Foundation
November 14, 2017
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: International

This week world leaders are meeting for the COP 23 global climate change conference in Bonn. …Fortunately, the economic case for climate action is compelling. The Global Commission for the Economy and Climate has shown that it’s possible to have stronger economic growth while meeting Paris climate targets, by focusing on opportunities such as renewable energy, low carbon infrastructure and forests and land use. In fact, new research from The Nature Conservancy shows that the forest and land-use sector can deliver 37 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed by 2030 to avoid dangerous climate change.  …Scientists estimate that last year the planet lost 73 million acres of forests, equal to the size of New Zealand, and an increase of 51 percent compared to 2015. …Around the world governments, businesses and civil society organisations are working harder than ever to address this challenge.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Mod About You: CLT Materials Could Bring in a New Wave of Construction

By Adam Bonislawski
Commercial Observer
November 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Regal Homes’ residential condominium development The Cube sits in London’s Hackney borough, but much of its construction was done some 900 miles away. The cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels that clad the building were produced in Unternberg, Austria, by CLT manufacturing firm Binderholz, which used digital 3D modeling tools to design and cut the panels, rehearsed how they would be put together onsite in London and then determined the sequence in which they would be shipped across the continent. “Then they were loaded onto [trucks], driven over to [the U.K.] and delivered to the construction site using a just-in-time delivery process,” said Damien Cartmell, Regal’s managing director for construction.  …“There is a huge disruption coming to the construction industry, and it’s based on the idea that the system is largely broken,” said Michael Green, the principal of Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture and a major proponent of building with CLT.

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Sweden leading the charge for prefabricated timber buildings

By Don Procter
Daily Commercial News
November 16, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International
Sweden, like Canada, has an abundance of forests. But unlike Canada, the Scandinavian country is starting to take advantage of its natural resource to prefabricate timber buildings of all types and sizes. Swedish developer Folkhem is one of those leading the charge, illustrating the environmental advantages of wood construction. But there are other reasons for choosing wood. Folkhem’s Strandparken, a 34-unit twin eight-storey housing complex just outside Stockholm, was built with cross-laminated timber (CLT) in seven months, largely because 80 per cent of the development was prefabricated — right down to the insulated walls and windows, Sandra Frank, the company’s marketing director, told delegates during a panel seminar recently at the Toronto Wood Solutions Fair. She said it takes Swedish forests only about one minute to produce the wood (120 cubic metres) required to the build Strandparken.

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Vitsœ’s new headquarters show how great modern architecture is a team sport

By Lloyd Alter
TreeHugger
November 15, 2017
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

It has been said that “success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” By that standard, Vitsœ’s new headquarters and factory is the most successful building ever, with many parents. …I first learned of the project when it was presented by architect Anthony Thistleton at the Wood Solutions Fair in Toronto a few weeks ago. …It is certainly innovative in its use of LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber); Where Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) is sometimes called plywood on steroids, LVL is like plywood on a diet, thin layers of veneer all lined up in the same direction.  …It is definitely understandable, as everything is exposed and “unfinished.” …It is also environmentally friendly. It is built from renewable wood, and according to the architects,…the new HQ and production building is naturally ventilated and naturally lit during daylight hours via its north-facing saw-tooth roof-lights.

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