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Category Archives: Wood, Paper & Green Building

Wood, Paper & Green Building

Strides in Fire Safety for Mass Wood Timber Buildings: Ebook

By Green Builder Media and Hilti
Global Newswire
May 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

LAKE CITY, Colorado — Green Builder Media and Hilti North America announce the release of a downloadable ebook, “Strides In Fire Safety for Mass Wood Timber Buildings.” As Tall Mass Wood Timber buildings get taller, municipalities, the building industry, and the public ask questions about how these buildings perform in a fire and how the building codes should be written to accommodate them. Hilti responded by marshaling all the tools at its disposal to perform rigorous testing of Mass Wood Timber component assemblies–primarily Cross-Laminated Timber–in its state-of-the-art testing labs. The results of the testing and details about the company’s bid to get third-party certification for this innovative building method is detailed in the book.

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Fire performance of mass timber construction: continuous testing confirms their fire safety attributes

By Christian Dagenais and Lindsay Ranger
FPInnovations Blog
May 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

Over the past decade, cross-laminated timber (CLT) has been increasingly used in numerous buildings in Canada. …However, fire performance remains one of the attributes of these systems that is of concern to many potential occupants or owners of these buildings, not to mention building officials and fire departments. Since the publication of its first edition of the Canadian CLT Handbook, in 2011, FPInnovations has carried out many tests and research projects to increase our knowledge of CLT and its performance with regards to fire safety in mass timber buildings, and to update codes and standards. These results are now available in the recent Fire performance of cross-laminated timber assemblies, published as part of the 2019 edition of the Canadian CLT Handbook. This document provides the most up-to-date information related to fire performance attributes of CLT elements conforming to the bi-national product manufacturing standard ANSI/APA PRG 320.

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A Timber-Based Building Method Draws Praise, and Skeptics

By Peter Fairley
Undark Magazine
May 4, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, United States

Last September, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee… was in nearby Spokane Valley, heralding a new factory with an innovative product that, he said, answered the “kids’” calls for climate action. ….The plant — one of the largest of its kind in North America — produces today’s hottest sustainable building material, called cross-laminated timber, or CLT. …What fired up Inslee was that those panels are designed to replace steel and concrete — traditional construction materials whose production accounts for about 13 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. CLT panels, in contrast, contain the carbon-cutting dividends of photosynthesis. …But CLT’s Pacific Northwest juggernaut is lacking in one crucial element: Proof that it will really help slow climate change. …According to experts such as Yang, Simonen, and Diaz, more nuanced approaches are needed to assess CLT’s impact on the global carbon cycle.

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2020 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture

By David Theodore
Canadian Architect
May 1, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

The 2020 Governor General’s Medals in Architecture winners show the value of investing time and resources in quality place-making. A monumental, billowing temple that watches over Santiago, Chile, like a spaceship from the movie Arrivalis joined on the podium by a bustling aquatic centre on the University of British Columbia campus. Likewise, a punctilious cottage that glows lakeside in rural Ontario joins a figurative building made to house small boats on the shores of English Bay. Together, these twelve distinguished projects reflect what recent writers have identified as the hallmarks of unpretentious architectural excellence in Canada: hybridity, modesty, modernity.

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Canadian company launches biodegradable products

By Cameron Grant
Food in Canada
April 27, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada

VANCOUVER, BC – good natured Products Inc. has added 22 certified compostable and biodegradable cups, bowls, takeout containers, plates and cutlery to its plant-based packaging and product assortment. Using a variety of sustainable materials, including fibre from sugarcane waste, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified paper and polylactic acid (PLA), the products also represent expansion for good natured® beyond bioplastics into a broader assortment of eco-friendly materials. As part of a phased roll-out, the initial selection of foodservice products are all made without chemicals that have been identified as potentially harmful to human health and the environment. …“Even prior to COVID-19, consumer eating trends have been changing rapidly toward prepared and takeaway food,” said Paul Antoniadis, CEO of good natured®.

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California Competition Highlights Potential for Mass Timber in Architectural Design

Wood WORKS! BC
May 21, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada, Canada West

In an effort to promote more eco-friendly building practices and reduce the risk of annual wildfires, California has opened the doors to a new competition encouraging the creative use of mass timber products. …California is the largest consumer of engineered wood products west of the Mississippi River for a variety of reasons, yet none of the materials are made in-state. Now planners and developers are looking at ways mass timber might help solve other state problems such as limited housing, pollution, and wildfires. …“Increased use of mass timber can benefit forest health and rural economic development while reducing carbon emissions related to construction in California,” says Jennifer Cover, president and CEO of WoodWorks. “The winning projects further highlight the design possibilities of timber and encourage wider adoption of its use throughout the state and across the country.”

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Three-Storey Office Proposal on Perth Redesigned in Resubmission (goodbye wood – hello concrete and steel)

By Jack Landau
Urban Toronto
May 20, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

A proposed office building on Perth Avenue … in Toronto’s Junction Triangle, has been resubmitted with a revised plan. The project was first submitted in June, 2017, with a wood-heavy plan called i2 Stack, with Ontario Hardwood Products Ltd commissioning a Williamson Williamson Architects design. The original submission was inspired by the client’s work in wood, taking a mass-timber structural system rich to the exterior. …The April, 2020 resubmission features a completely new design from Ferdinand Wagner Architect… In place of the previous plan’s mass-timber structure, the new plan calls for a structural steel skeleton surrounding a concrete core. Similarly, the wood finishes in the original avant garde design have been replaced by a more conventional envelope that would consist of brick framing tinted glazed windows and black slab-edge spandrel panels. …The building’s mix of brick and glazing has been designed to acknowledge both the residential and industrial character of the surrounding streets.

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Must a table have 4 legs? Bracebridge artist reimagines wood furniture

By Patti Vipond
Muskoka Region News
May 11, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

MUSKOKA LIFE — The artisan wood furniture imagined into being by wood sculptor Conel O’Regan raises some existential questions. Must a table only have four legs? No, they don’t. And do those legs have to be straight? No again. “Once you’ve made a table with six legs, you figure you need more,” says O’Regan with a chuckle. …With its old growth forest, canyon cliffs and Sharps Creek waterfalls, the property is home to O’Regan, his wife and the Forest Floor Studio. Visitors to the studio can ask for a guided tour of the unique terrain… O’Regan harvests deadfall trees and fallen branches by hand, an eco-friendly method that saves the forest floor from scarring by an ATV or tractor.

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Wood buildings, climate sustainability, affordable housing: What to keep from Sidewalks Labs’ ideas for Quayside

By Donovan Vincent and David Rider
The Star
May 8, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

With Sidewalk Labs out of the picture at Quayside, civic leaders say there’s still an opportunity to build something ambitious on the site, including “truly affordable” housing, unfettered public access to the waterfront and anything other than the “status quo” condos already in the city. …Rather than “status quo buildings” Cherise Burda, executive director of the Ryerson City Building Institute likes the idea of wood frame construction — Sidewalk Labs wanted to build an entire neighbourhood of wood buildings at Quayside — and innovations such as sensors that would know when to water rooftop farms on top of buildings.

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Quayside cancellation ‘a sad day for Toronto,’ says Manahan

By Angela Gismondi
Daily Commercial News
May 8, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

The decision by Sidewalk Labs to pull the plug on the Quayside smart city project in Toronto has industry stakeholders shaking their heads, calling it not only disappointing for the construction industry, but a missed opportunity for the city itself. …“It’s more than just the loss of the construction jobs for us, we wanted to see that development in the city because it created so many opportunities,” said Mike Yorke, president of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario. …He added, “it was mass timber and they wanted to tie in mass timber manufacturing. We talked about jobs for northern Ontario and those communities on the resource extraction. We were actually in discussions about what that would mean to aboriginal communities, so if you look at the resource sector, design, manufacturing it’s a big loss for the city and for the industry.”

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Sidewalk Labs pulls out of Toronto waterfront smart city project

By Tara Deschamps
The Canadian Press in Canadian Architect
May 7, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

TORONTO – Sidewalk Labs‘ ambitious vision for a hi-tech neighbourhood with tall timber structures and innovations to support sustainability and environmentalism, equipped with futuristic innovations won’t be coming to Toronto’s waterfront. The Google affiliate revealed Thursday that is walking away from its controversial, smart city plans after spending years and millions of dollars on the proposal. “As unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre 1/8nearly five-hectare 3/8 project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed,” Sidewalk’s CEO Dan Doctoroff said in a letter posted online that broke the news. …The decision signalled an end to the rocky relationship between Sidewalk and Waterfront that has festered for years as the project was met with criticism around privacy protections and intellectual property concerns from business leaders and security experts alike.

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Architect – and U of T alumnus – designs ‘healthier’ temporary ICUs for COVID-19 patients

By Janet Rowe
University of Toronto News
May 1, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

…University of Toronto alumnus Tye Farrow (architecture in 1987), and friend Ray Arbesman moved quickly to design temporary intensive care units in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farrow … is known for creating buildings that wrap health-promoting features into their design. Arbesman is the founder of Nucap Industries, a global technology company, and the inventor of a novel mechanical system that can bind building materials together. Together, they’ve developed Solace Rapid Assembly – High Performance COVID-19 Inpatient Bed Solutions, and they’re hoping the project could soon help hospitals around the world that are struggling to care for COVID-19 patients. …Farrow’s design for the ICU structures is based on an innovative, never-before used building technique: wood blocks laminated with metal instead of glue. …The resulting blocks are as strong as concrete, but lighter and as easy to assemble as Lego. Even unskilled volunteers could build one of the 12-bed ICU units…

 

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Canadian company among first to make HempWood cabinets, demos kitchen

By Robert Dalheim
The Woodworking Network
April 30, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: Canada East, Canada

NEW BRUNSWICK – A Canadian cabinet manufacturer is among the first in the world to make cabinets from HempWood. “Hemp is substantially more environmentally-sustainable when compared to traditional hardwood species more commonly used in building materials,” says Eastland Group of Companies president Karim Bhibah. The company has been making kitchen cabinets for more than 50 years. …Bhibah recently showcased the cabinets at the Atlantic Building Supplies Dealers Association tradeshow in Halifax, Nova Scotia March 11-12, and is currently pursuing exclusive licensing to press HempWood in Canada. Eastland partnered with Fibonacci, the first company in the world to process hemp into wood. Fibonacci’s 15,600-square-feet factory officially opened for business in Kentucky last August. 

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Dunkin’ Donuts Dumps Styrofoam (EPS) Cups

By Clare Goldsberry
Plastics Today
May 17, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Dunkin’ Donuts trumpeted its latest achievement… in announcing that 100% of its restaurants globally have transitioned EPS cups to paper cups. In Dunkin’s U.S. restaurants, the foam cups have been replaced by double-walled paper cups. The new cups, made with paperboard certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) standard. …An article in FoodPrint… noted that these cups have taken ‘heat’ for their non-recyclability.” However, noted FoodPrint, while paper cups might “seem like a better option . . . paper cannot hold liquid,” particularly hot liquid, without a polyethylene liner, “a plastic that functions as a moisture barrier.” …It becomes increasingly evident that many consumer products companies clearly do not understand the science behind the materials of the packaging products they choose in their sustainability initiatives. Manufacturing paper and paper packaging requires heavy use of water resources, as well as energy.

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Plastic bags were finally being banned. Then came the pandemic.

By Jasmin Malik Chua
Vox
May 20, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

In a back room at his home in Santa Cruz, California, George Leonard is amassing a stockpile of plastic bags. Most of the time he eschews the things. As chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, DC, Leonard spends his time advocating against single-use plastics. But that was in the Before Times. Since the Covid-19 pandemic upended life across the globe, ravaging economies and bringing entire health care systems to their knees, everyone is being forced to compromise. With plastic production already projected to increase by 40 percent over the next decade, campaigners like Leonard fear the pandemic could unravel hard-fought measures. …In April, New York state announced that its plastic bag ban would be postponed to mid-June. Massachusetts, Maine, and Oregon are deferring similar state laws. New Hampshire has required all grocers to “temporarily transition” to single-use paper or plastic bags only. 

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The Material Revolutionizing the Construction Industry? Wood

By Jonathon Keats
Discover Magazine
May 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Michael Green

Canadian architect Michael Green… wants the global construction industry to replace steel and concrete with high-tech plywood. “We’re not even close to meeting global needs when it comes to housing people in a safe and affordable way,” he says. Plus, the construction of buildings is responsible for around 10 percent of all global climate emissions. Green claims that these interrelated problems can both be addressed by building with timber from sustainably grown forests.  …“The dairy industry in the U.S. didn’t move to organic milk until Walmart decided to stock the shelves with it,” he says. And now “Walmart has announced they’re building a huge new campus in Arkansas that will entirely [be made of] mass timber …“In 10 years, I hope that we’re not cutting down trees the way we do now,” Green says. Instead, he wants to see wood grown in factory conditions … where all of the material qualities can be completely controlled. 

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Coffee Giant Has Officially Ditched Its Foam Cups

By Lizzy Roseberg
GreenMatters
May 12, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

Dunkin’ is scoring major brownie points today, as the New England coffee giant has officially ditched its trademark (yet seriously unsustainable) foam cups. From now on, customers will receive their hot drinks in paper cups, just as they would at other chains that serve coffee, such as Starbucks or McDonalds. …Dunkin’s new paper cups, which will be used to serve hot drinks, are comprised of Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Standard-certified paperboard, and although some of the company’s locations may still cary foam cups in their inventory, the chain’s distribution centers are no longer supplying them with the old cups. 

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SmartLam & RedBuilt Exclusive Partnership

SmartLam North America
May 12, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

SmartLam North America™ and RedBuilt™ are proud to announce their partnership to supply Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) products and solutions to architects, engineers and contractors for projects using the popular mass timber building technology. RedBuilt will serve as the exclusive distributor of SmartLam CLT in the Pacific Northwest, West Coast and Southwest, which includes nine states; California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Montana. Together, SmartLam and RedBuilt will offer an integrated solution for mass timber building, with highly trained technical sales and design teams, all deeply familiar with mass timber design, manufacturing and installation. These teams will guide architects, engineers and contractors through the entire design and construction process to streamline workflow and eliminate guesswork. …the SmartLam/Redbuilt partnership will offer a wide array of structural engineered wood solutions, including CLT, GLB, Open Web, I-joists, LVL and connection hardware from a single source, simplifying the building process.

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California Promotes Architectural Innovation Through Mass Timber Competition

By Think Wood
Arch Daily
May 4, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

In California, the Governor’s Forest Management Task Force and the Office of Planning and Research announced the winners of their first-ever competition designed to highlight a category of engineered wood products known as mass timber. …Through the Mass Timber Building Competition, the State is awarding a total of $500,000 to four projects that demonstrate mass timber’s potential to help address multiple challenges while creating new rural economic opportunities. …California is the largest consumer of engineered wood products west of the Mississippi River, yet none is produced in the state. By showcasing opportunities for mass timber, State agencies seek to stimulate the demand for buildings constructed using mass timber and generate investor interest in potential in-state production capacity while advancing California’s climate change and green building objectives. …The winning projects in the competition are noted.

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Keys to Controlling Mold on Lumber, Pallets

By Tim Cox
The Pallet Enterprise
May 1, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

As the weather warms, mold becomes an even worse problem for pallet suppliers. Proper treatment of lumber or pallets and storage conditions can do a lot to reduce the mold threat. …In recent years, Starbucks went after a company that supplied it with wood pallets that were used to ship and store coffee beans. …Mold spores are everywhere. If they have enough oxygen, moisture, the right temperature, and a food source, they can germinate in 24-48 hours. Wood is a food source for mold. Since mold can occur in a fairly broad temperature range, moisture content of wood becomes a controlling factor to prevent mold. Mold needs four things to grow — oxygen, food, water or the right temperature. A successful mold control program will usually involve a combination of strategies.

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Designing with wood

Washington State University News
May 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

A group of Washington State University graduate architecture students had the chance to work with the building material of the future – wood – as part of their architecture studio design course. As part of a joint course with the University of Idaho, the students used mass timber as their primary construction material to design a mixed-use development in the Spokane University District. The students were asked to design an airport terminal for the Pullman airport. The students recently presented their final projects over Zoom to industry partners and faculty members with prizes given to the highest-scoring projects. …Using wood brings together green building with forest health and rural job creation while also mitigating wildfire risks, said Omar Al-Hassawi, assistant professor in the School of Design and Construction. …As part of the course, the faculty received support from industry partners, including the Idaho Forest Products Commission and Katerra

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Industry Leaders Bullish on CLT In Pacific Northwest

By Shawn De La Rosa
Bisnow Seattle
May 6, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

As the world continues to tally the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, cross-laminated timber is gaining in popularity because of its relative inexpensiveness and sustainability. Those benefits  — and a few concerns — of CLT were discussed during Bisnow’s The Rise of Mass Timber & CLT webinar in the Pacific Northwest last week. “We are very bullish that CLT is the way of the future,” Kaiser + Path owner and principal Ben Kaiser said. “Coming out of this time we are in, the world will yearn for cleaner air and cleaner water and CLT will launch forward with more momentum than it’s had over the last couple of years.” The benefits of CLT are numerous: It is lighter, fewer workers are needed to install it, it has consistent pricing, and it is usually environmentally friendly.

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Mass timber conference scheduled to return in 2021

By Chuck Slothower
Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce
May 5, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

International Mass Timber Conference officials have bowed to the inevitable, canceling the 2020 event and planning another for next year. The 2021 conference will take place March 30-April 1 at the Oregon Convention Center, organizers announced Monday. This year’s conference was supposed to be headlined by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. He’s engaged in designing Key Development’s Block 25 project in Old Town Chinatown. Organizers had previously held out hope the conference could be held later this year after it was postponed from its initial dates of March 23-26. As with other large events, organizers came to recognize an international conference would be ill-considered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Do high-rises built from wood guarantee climate benefits?

By Peter Fairley
Investigate West
May 4, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

Last September, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee stepped to a lectern in a sprawling 270,000-square-foot factory outside Spokane and declared it the “best day so far” in his six years in office. Earlier that day, he had marched downtown as part of the youth-driven climate strike that united 4 million people worldwide. Now he was in nearby Spokane Valley, heralding a new factory with an innovative product that, he said, answered the kids’” calls for climate action.   The plant — one of the largest of its kind in North America — produces today’s hottest “sustainable” building material, called cross-laminated timber, or CLT.  …But CLT’s Pacific Northwest juggernaut is lacking in one crucial element: Proof that it will really help slow climate change. Some forest scientists, climate modelers, and materials experts are raising tough questions about the wisdom of boosting the region’s wood harvests.

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Clemson’s new Outdoor Education Center uses a Mass Timber Structural System

By David Malone
Building Design + Construction
May 19, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

Clemson University’s 16,000-sf Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Education Center has become the first mass timber structure on the campus and the second mass timber facility in the nation to use Southern yellow pine as the primary building material. The project is located at the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Complex.

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American Wood Council Partners with Fire Groups on Distance Learning

American Wood Council
May 14, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

LEESBURG, Virginia – The American Wood Council has partnered with the Virginia Fire Prevention Association (VFPA) and Virginia Fire Marshal Academy to offer free distance learning opportunities for state fire inspectors. “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic facing our fire and code enforcement communities, code enforcement personnel have been affected by the inability to attend continuing education opportunities. This partnership will allow fire inspectors to continue essential continuing education during this time,” said VFPA President Ernie Little. The course schedule… Demobilizing Construction Sites Safely Using the Model Codes; Construction Fire Safety Best Practices; Tall Mass Timber Buildings & Fire Service Concerns; Pre-planning and Fire Suppression of Buildings Under Construction; and I-joists and Firefighter Safety.

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Bat maker says loan resulted in return of furloughed workers

Associated Press in The Times and Democrat
May 12, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats says it put 171 furloughed employees back on the payroll after receiving a loan from a government program aimed at helping small businesses. Hillerich & Bradsby Co. (H&B) resumed production at its wood bat factory in Louisville on Monday as parts of Kentucky’s economy reopened after weeks of shutdowns because of the coronavirus outbreak. The bat factory had been idled for nearly two months amid the global pandemic. The company did not disclose the amount of the loan it received under the Paycheck Protection Program. But it said the cash infusion was instrumental in restoring all 171 furloughed employees — or about 90% of its work force — to the payroll last week. …H&B, a family-owned business, is the wood bat manufacturing partner for Wilson Sporting Goods, which purchased the famed Louisville Slugger brand from H&B in 2015.

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Forestry professor explains issue with tissue in pandemic

By Matthew Pelkki, Chair of Forestry, University of Arkansas, Monticello
The Pine Bluff Commercial
May 11, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

MONTICELLO, Arkansas — …Here are the facts about toilet tissue supply in the era of a pandemic. …Use of toilet paper at home has increased. People are not working at the office, and so we are indeed using more tissue at home. Estimates by Georgia-Pacific are that domestic tissue demand has increased by as much as 40%. …The situation would seem to be a good one for landowners with lots of pulpwood that need to be thinned. During March and April, demand for pulpwood across the South was indeed steady, if not strong. …Toilet tissue used at home is different from what people use at work. Commercial 1-ply tissue requires half as much wood fiber to make as domestic 2-ply tissues. Paper mills are set up to make a lot of commercial tissue because Americans spend a lot of time at work.

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Forest Service awards Mississippi $500,000 in Wood Innovations Grant

Winston County Journal
April 30, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: US East, United States

JACKSON, Miss. – The USDA Forest Service today announced that it awarded $500,000 in grants to two Mississippi projects that will advance innovations in wood products, create jobs, help revitalize local economies and support sustainable forest land management. Through its Wood Innovations Grant program, the Forest Service awarded a $250,000 grant to the Mississippi Forestry Foundation for the construction of a Forestry Educational and Utilization Center that will showcase mass timber and other innovative wood building materials. The Forest Service also awarded a $250,000 grant to Mississippi State University for a project to develop the preservative-treatment procedures for industrial cross-laminated timber mats composed of southern yellow pine lumber.

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The Fire Safety Bill: Why a science first, fact-based approach is necessary

By Jeremy English, Sales Director at Södra Wood UK
Fire Safety Matters
May 18, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

At the end of 2018, as part of fire safety improvement measures intended to prevent another horrific blaze like that seen at Grenfell Tower, the (then) Housing Secretary James Brokenshire introduced new legislation banning combustible materials on new high-rise dwellings above 18 metres in height. Late last year, the new Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick called for the height threshold for combustible materials to be lowered to “at least 11 metres” … While there’s no question that the Fire Safety Bill is intended to enhance occupant safety, we absolutely mustn’t lose sight of timber’s inherent qualities as a building material. …We as an industry are calling for an objective investigation. …To quash the use of wood in structures over 11 metres tall would be to fly in the face of the sustainable evolution that the construction industry and, more importantly, the nation so desperately needs.

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Timber suitable to help address Covid-19 housing requirement

By Donna Slater
Creamer Media’s Engineering News
May 19, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

In response to government investigating alternative housing solutions for densely populated informal settlements during the Covid-19 pandemic, Sawmilling South Africa (SSA) and the Institute for Timber Construction South Africa (ITC-SA) have approached government with a proposal that timber be seen as one of the construction materials of choice, and as a longer-term solution that will transcend the current crisis and immediate needs. One of the many pressures that the pandemic has placed on South Africa is the pressing need to provide alternative housing and infrastructure for people living in informal settlements, where it is feared Covid-19 may spread more quickly. …According to the organisations, correctly treated wood is in fact highly durable and performs better than many other materials in the event of fire. Apart from complying with most municipal regulations, it also offers exceptional thermal insulation, is cost-effective and is an environmentally lighter option.

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Silly Billy: what the Ikea bookcase tells us about the true cost of fast furniture

By Simon Usborne
The Guardian
May 19, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A Billy bookcase is made every three seconds. But with a third of people admitting to throwing away furniture that they could have sold or donated, does the cheap furniture boom have a heavy environmental price? …[Since the start of the COVID outbreak] online furniture retailers have reported strong demand. Revenues have doubled at Wayfair, the US furnishings giant. Ikea, which is preparing to reopen its stores, has doubled down online, slapping its new slogan, “Conquer the great indoors”, on desk chairs and storage solutions for tinned food. As the walls close in, many of us are sprucing them up. But there is a payoff. While online retailers have stayed open, the means of disposing of old furniture have all but disappeared. Public waste centres and charity shops have closed their doors, while many “freecycling” websites and for-sale pages of community forums have suspended trading.

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These three timber buildings could represent the future of green architecture

By Kristin Toussaint
Fast Company
May 19, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Construction materials alone, including carbon and steel, contribute 11% of global carbon emissions (by comparison, air travel contributes about 2.5%). That’s why architects and development companies around the world are opting for a novel but not-so-new solution: wood. A study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, found that with proper forest management, a global boom in wood buildings could sequester up to 700 million tons of carbon a year (wood naturally stores carbon, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere). The idea is catching on: Google’s Sidewalk Labs has proposed a 12-acre timber neighborhood in Toronto, while in February, France mandated that all public buildings after 2022 be constructed of at least 50% wood or other organic materials. 

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Superdrug announces removal of all plastic applicators in own brand tampons

By Fiona Briggs
Retail Times
May 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Superdrug is proud to announce that it has removed all plastic applicators from own brand tampons, and launched it’s first own brand range of organic menstrual products. …studies have found that globally 45 billion menstrual products are disposed of yearly… It’s clear that period plastic is an ongoing issue… With over 200,000 tonnes of sanitary product material believed to end up in UK landfill every year, the discontinuation of own brand plastic tampon applicators at Superdrug will save over 418kg of plastic each year… The new range uses only ethical and sustainably sourced elements. …the absorbent core uses materials obtained from PEFC certified wood, rather than a synthetic polymer, ensuring that the range uses material sourced from sustainable managed forests. The packaging … boxes and paper use Forest Stewardship Council certified wood.

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Millions of Trees Can Be Saved With the Use of Hemp Toilet Paper

By Resonance, Costa Rica
The Cost Rica News
May 13, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

That the toilet paper industry is a major threat to forests and the environment is a fact. A 2019 report from the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council indicates how the major brands of toilet paper and ‘wipes’ predominantly use wood from Canada’s ancient boreal forests. …So what sustainable alternatives are there? Fortunately, there is a solution on the horizon: the production and sale of hemp toilet paper. …Hemp produces four times more cellulose fibers per hectare compared to trees and takes 4-5 months to grow, while trees take 8-100 years. …Furthermore, it is the best source of biomass in the world, as 10 tons of hemp per acre can be produced. …Hemp has up to 85% cellulose, almost three times more than trees.

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Our new found love for the toilet roll raises some environmental questions

By Sorcha Hamilton
The Irish Times
May 9, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Is this the year of the toilet roll? This previously-ignored bathroom item is having its day – disappearing off supermarket shelves with stunning speed. According to Dimitrios Tsivrikos, at University College London, toilet paper has now become an “icon” of mass panic. …Over the years, the environmental credentials of the humble bog roll have improved, but efforts seem to have slackened off recently. Most mainstream brands are using less recycled material now than they were in 2011. …When you think about what goes into the production of toilet paper – forest depletion, bleaching, water, packaging and transport – the amount of water used in a bidet is trivial in comparison. …It’s hard to see us switching to bidets in Ireland. Though maybe we could, at some point, think about using more of the recycled stuff.

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Support for wood processing sector ‘a masterstroke’ for Twyford

By Marty Verry
Stuff.co.nz
May 11, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Phil Twyford

This year’s implementation of Labour’s long-promised policy to use government procurement to support the wood processing sector will be a masterstroke for jobs, the economy, the environment and politically for Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford. So why the need for a government procurement policy on construction material use favouring sustainable materials? In short, jobs. More than 100,000 of them, made up of 38,500 people employed by the forestry and wood processing sector directly, and more than 65,000 indirect jobs. …Only the Government has a mandate to consider the bigger picture impact of procurement policy on NZ Inc in terms of jobs, climate change, balance of payments, wellness, waste and a whole range of other aspects that favour wood over its climate polluting alternatives concrete and steel. Plus, a policy will tip off building developers and designers that wood solutions now exist for practically all building types, and are cost competitive, faster and safer to build.

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Student Venture Aims To Bring Automation To Home Builders

By University of Auckland
Scoop Independent News
May 8, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

A group of engineering and science students who met during a free University of Auckland venture development programme run last summer, are preparing to take their building automation ideas to the world. Nikau Robotics is utilising leading-edge automation technology to increase productivity for small and medium construction businesses. The team is developing a smart computer numerical control (CNC) wood router that can intake a stack of wooden panels and process them automatically to pre-cut, drill, and carve wooden panels. The machine they have designed is highly portable to enable onsite use for fast, accurate cuts of wood without the need for external suppliers. Mechatronics Engineering student Harrison Lawton assisted in a home reno, noting how strenuous and repetitive the work was. …”From my background in robotics, I saw the ideal characteristics for automation. …so I began to design my own machine.”

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Inside Ikea’s bold new sustainability pledge

By Haley Chouinard
Business of Home
May 5, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Few retailers can rival the global footprint of Swedish furniture giant Ikea. …By some estimates, the company’s ready-to-assemble furniture at one point used as much as 1 percent of the world’s wood supply. But if Ikea’s manufacturing operations dwarf the rest of the industry’s, so do many of its sustainability initiatives… the company matched its outsize impact with a pledge: to use all recycled and Forest Stewardship Council–certified wood by the end of this year (at the close of 2019, Ikea reported that 97 percent of the wood that it used was defined as either FSC-certified or recycled wood…)—and to make all of its products with renewable materials by 2030. “Because we own our total value chain, we are able to work with the way that we source our materials and think carefully about what kind of materials we source,” says Dominique Fularski, who manages communications for Circular Ikea, the company’s sustainability team.

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Is there enough wood in the world to feed sustainability?

Deutsche Welle
May 1, 2020
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

Wood is the resource the world is relying on for its low carbon future. It’s touted as a replacement for concrete and steel, fossil fuels, power and plastics. But is there enough of it to go around? …The attraction is clear. When wood is used in buildings, for example, carbon is taken out of the carbon cycle and stored for as long as the building stands. But according to preliminary findings from a joint United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UN Food and Agriculture Organization study into future supply and demand scenarios, even if every effort were made to maximize global forest cover, doubling the use of wood in buildings, furniture and other products would reduce rather than increase the amount of carbon sequestered globally. “The projected increase in wood products carbon in this scenario was not enough to offset the loss in biomass carbon due to increased removals depleting forest stocks,” the authors wrote. 

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