WFPA members are committed to advancing sustainable forestry in Washington State to provide forest products and environmental benefits for the public.

Tall wood buildings rise in U.S. and Canada

2014-11-20 Ashley Bach

When you've made the pages of the Wall Street Journal, you know you've truly arrived. It was the Journal that wrote earlier this month about the big news: the first tall, modern wood building in U.S. history is on its way.

The 7-story office building will be constructed in Minneapolis, right next to Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. The developer is Hines Interests LP of Houston, and the architect - no surprise here - is Michael Green of Vancouver, B.C.

Green, of course, is the same star architect who has been the leader in pushing large wood buildings into the public sphere in North America. He also is the star of a series of videos promoting the use of wood in large buildings. The videos are sponsored by the Washington Forest Protection Association, the Washington Contract Loggers Association, the Family Forest Foundation and the Washington Farm Forestry Association, and we wrote about Green's involvement last month.

It's no wonder that the Journal's headline reads: "Towering Ambition":

For the past 100 years, virtually all buildings over a few stories tall have been constructed out of concrete and steel. But some architects and builders are promoting an alternative they are positioning as environmentally friendlier: good old-fashioned wood.

Last week, real-estate developer Hines Interests LP, based in Houston, unveiled plans to build a seven-story, wooden office building in Minneapolis near one of the city’s light-rail lines in an increasingly popular district downtown. Hines is calling the project T3, for timber, technology and transit.

If the building is approved by the city’s preservation and planning agencies, T3 would be the tallest modern all-timber structure in the U.S., according to reThink Wood, a coalition promoting wood in architecture. The building is designed by Vancouver-based Michael Green Architecture; the firm also designed the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in British Columbia, which opened a few weeks ago and is the tallest modern wooden building in North America.

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Plum Creek Timber makes huge move on NW forest conservation

2014-11-13 Ashley Bach

Seattle's Plum Creek Timber Co. recently announced it was selling 48,000 acres of forestland along Interstate 90 in Washington, as well as 117,000 acres in the Blackfoot River Valley in Montana. The sale of the land in both states to The Nature Conservancy is another reminder that Plum Creek is a major player in conserving forestland for future generations.

The scope of the forestland is massive - in Washington, the land bought by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) covers 75 square miles, an area more than twice the size of Manhattan. Both the Washington and Montana land is "among the most ecologically diverse and intact biological systems remaining in the United States," according to Plum Creek.

“Plum Creek has a strong history of conservation and is pleased to partner in the sale of these lands to accommodate the public interest in securing permanent conservation that protects ecological and recreational values,” said Rick Holley, chief executive officer for Plum Creek. “This is an important conservation project that recognizes the highest benefit these lands offer -- protecting ecological values and helping to maintain public access. We are pleased that we were able to work with TNC to conserve some of the nation’s most important forest areas,” said Holley.  

In a recent interview with REIT.com that did not include news of the land sale, Plum Creek's CEO, Holley, expanded on the company's conservation strategy.

REIT: What level of interest are you seeing for the sale of conservation, recreation and non-strategic rural lands? How do you determine which parcels of land to sell?

Holley: We continue to see interest in each of these categories. In terms of conservation, we are proud to be one of the largest purveyors of conservation in the country, having commited to nearly 1.5 million acres of land to conservation outcomes...

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Diary of a Working Forest: Biomass

We already know that the private forest land in Washington State plays a vital role in the carbon cycle. Now with biomass fuel we can make use of these working forests for another carbon positive process, power generation. Biomass boilers use harvest and milling by products to generate steam as an alternative to fossil fuels.