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Mass Timber

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Image courtesy of Paige McWhorter Photography

About Mass Timber

Mass timber, short for “massive timber,” uses engineered soft wood lumber species as the key structural element for large-scale projects. This building material presents several benefits, namely the significantly lower levels of embodied carbon especially when compared to steel and concrete. In addition to the potential this material offers for climate mitigation-of particular importance in an industry contributing 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions- building with mass timber also presents opportunities for faster construction time, better on-site worker health and safety, support for sustainable forestry practices, and more.

Mass timber markets in Europe and Canada have been growing significantly over fifteen years, but the US market is still nascent. Barriers to accelerated adoption include understanding how to build with this material, building codes, and regional supply, to name a few. The BSA is collaborating with several partners on different mass-timber related programs to contribute positively to this need for education, innovation, and implementation.

Current Work

Boston Mass Timber Accelerator Program

Lead: City of Boston
Technical Partner: WoodWorks
Funder: USDA Forest Service, Softwood Lumber Board, and the ClimateWorks Foundation

Status: Awardees for the second round of this program will be announced in early 2023.
Learn more here.

Mass Timber in 3 Regions

Lead: Olifant & Lambert Sustainability
Technical Partners: LeMessurier, SCB, Turner Construction
Regional Partners: AIA Georgia, AIA Colorado, AIA Minnesota

Funder: USDA Forest Service, 2022 Wood Innovations Grant

Status: Currently in the first phase of the grant, conducting LCAs for different building types in each of the regions
Learn more here.

Past Work

Durable: Exhibition (2020-2022)

Mass Timber Virtual Exhibit from Durable: The Digital Collection


Think Wood: Mass Timber Design Manual

Think Wood: Mass Timber Digest

Think Wood: Examples of Mass Timber Projects

WoodWorks: Mass Timber Cost and Optimization Checklists

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