Skip to main content
ARS Home » Nutrition, Food Safety/Quality » Research » Research Project #443958

Research Project: Strengthening American Competitiveness in the Design, Manufacture and Construction of Buildings Using Innovative Wood Products

Location: Nutrition, Food Safety/Quality

Project Number: 0500-00090-001-007-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 17, 2023
End Date: Jul 16, 2026

The overarching goal of this project is to provide companies in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) with fundamental and applied knowledge, and training necessary to develop competitive leadership in emerging domestic and global markets for innovative sustainable structural 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 PNW is becoming a national hub for the mass-timber industry, growing its capacity to manufacture mass-timber building components, and broadening the spectrum of value-added wood products available for use in buildings. The entrepreneurial spirit in manufacturing is complemented by the region’s progressive building design profession, which 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. However, innovating on such a wide front requires robust research aimed at removing existing barriers, filling persistent gaps in knowledge, as well as building new knowledge in relevant disciplines and providing state-of-the-art training for the expert workforce to support that growth. This project will provide focused research, education, and workforce development to help the region’s business community capitalize on the growing global interest in using more innovative sustainable wood products in the built environment. Our aim is to provide knowledge that helps stimulate markets, remove barriers, foster innovation, understand and mitigate risks, and inform capital and cost analyses. Our objectives fall into two broad categories: 1) Conduct research to stimulate new wood building design, such as • expanding and developing new products, next-generation product concepts, and building components; • facilitating building construction approvals and processes and alleviating anticipated challenges in wood construction; and • fostering markets and next-generation supply chains for large wood buildings and for engineered wood products used in the built environment. 2) Effectively disseminate and communicate research findings to scientists, manufacturers, designers, and relevant public-sector personnel.

The research projects carried out under this program will be coordinated by the College of Forestry in partnership with the TallWood Design Institute (TDI) and affiliated academic units. Funded primarily by the State of Oregon, the Institute is a research and outreach partnership among OSU’s College of Forestry, College of Engineering, and University of Oregon’s College of Design, operating the state-of-the-art A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory at OSU. TDI brings together a unique set of expertise in architecture, wood science, and engineering to focus on the development and advancement of innovative wood products and building components, and technologies related to modern wood structures. Project resources will support graduate student and post doc training and research, providing outstanding opportunities to engage top faculty, utilize world class facilities, and partner with industry and community leaders to addresses relevant challenges. Our research priorities address the central theme of increasing applications for wood-based products that can be appropriately used for structural purposes in multi-family residential and non-residential wood buildings, including modular and other appropriate applications. Research may focus anywhere along the supply chain where benefits can be derived – from the sourcing and development of materials to their end-of-life, and to design, engineering, manufacture, and construction. Proposals submitted will articulate how the proposed project addresses one or more of the following themes. 1) Development of new advanced timber products. a. Structural/seismic research. Validation of existing, or development of new connections b. Validation of existing, or development of new roof and/or floor systems. c. Contributions to development of alternative approaches to ELF (Equivalent Lateral Force) seismic design. d. Hybrid systems that combine wood Vertical Load Carrying Systems with steel or concrete Lateral Load Resisting Systems. 2) Research that that can answer important technical questions while leveraging or complementing large-scale research efforts undertaken by other entities. 3) Research related to fire, vibration, or durability (especially moisture-related) performance. 4) Research that helps to develop modular systems including components or assemblies (panel + windows + finishes + EMP) for use in affordable housing, fast deployment housing, etc. 5) Research that addresses wood-related environmental concerns and explores carbon benefits and lifecycle analyses of wood buildings. 6) Research on digital design, fabrication and construction of wood buildings. 7) Business and economic questions. 8) Research and outreach materials development that contributes to educating architects, engineers, builders and developers on modern timber construction. Qualified applied research projects will have to demonstrate that they address challenges and opportunities seen in the marketplace. The CoF Extension faculty and TDI provide outstanding capacity to communicate research findings to stakeholders.