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ARS Home » Nutrition, Food Safety/Quality » Research » Research Project #435120

Research Project: Developing Leadership in the Design, Manufacture and Construction of Buildings Using Innovative Wood Products

Location: Nutrition, Food Safety/Quality

Project Number: 0204-41510-001-089-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 6, 2019
End Date: Aug 5, 2023

The overarching objective of this project is to help companies in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest develop competitive leadership in accessing emerging domestic and global markets for innovative wood products. Success will increase the value of the region’s forests, support sustainable management, and grow the number of manufacturing jobs in rural communities. The Pacific Northwest’s timber industry is positioned to capitalize by growing its capacity to manufacture mass-timber building components, while also expanding to support entrepreneurial behavior in broadening the spectrum of value-added wood products available for use in buildings. Similarly, the region’s building design profession is ideally positioned to expand on its reputation for sustainable design, and establish itself as North America’s hub for expertise in innovative wood building design. The objective of this project is to provide research, education, and workforce development to help the region’s business community capitalize on the growing interest around the world in using more wood in tall and modular structures. The goal is to provide information that helps stimulate markets, remove barriers, foster innovation, understand risk, and inform capital and cost analyses. Objectives fall into two broad categories: • Conduct research to stimulate new wood building design; expand and develop innovative wood products and building components, facilitate building construction approvals and processes, and foster markets for wood buildings. • Educate the next generation of scientists, business leaders, and workforce with formal degree programs and continuing education.

Within the College of Forestry, research projects are conducted in close collaboration with the TallWood Design Institute (TDI). TDI is a top research and outreach collaborative, funded primarily by the State of Oregon, focusing exclusively on the advancement of structural wood products. Housed at the OSU’s College of Forestry, the institute is a partnership among OSU’s College of Engineering, College of Forestry, and University of Oregon’s College of Design. Thus, TDI brings together a unique set of expertise in architecture, wood science, and engineering to focus on the development and use of innovative wood products and building components capable of being produced in the Pacific Northwest and the U.S. TDI provides research and educational programs that support the growing use of wood in the construction of new configurations of wood building with new engineered materials. Project research will be mission focused and guided by stakeholders. As such, research selection will be provided by an advisory committee of industry stakeholders including architects, manufacturers, engineers, construction professionals, market specialists, thought leaders, and peers in the scientific community. This research will be capitalizing on the existing infrastructure at OSU and UO, especially the newly opened A.A. Red Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory, along with faculty capacity and industry partnerships. Project resources will support graduate student training and research, providing outstanding opportunities to engage top faculty, utilize world class facilities, and engage innovative industry and community leaders. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to cutting edge technological innovation that addresses socially relevant challenges while working in an multidisciplinary environment. Scoping efforts have identified two broad areas of research needed to support construction of wooden buildings with innovative engineered materials: 1. Product Innovations • New Product Incubation • New Applications of Current Technology • Manufacturing and Material Innovation 2. Industry adoption and use of innovative wood products • Building Certification/Lifecycle • Code Compliance/Validation • Product and Materials Testing Research will be prioritized in consultation with the advisory committees, including the USDA Forest Products Laboratory and industry partners, with timing contingent upon availability of scientists and students. It is important that research projects demonstrate that they fully address real-world challenges and opportunities, aiming to produce relevant impacts in two to five years. We strongly encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers and holistic approaches to research. Finally, CoF Extension faculty and TDI provide outstanding capacity to communicate research findings to stakeholders.