One of the takeways from last week's second annual Mass Timber Conference (and a smaller accompanying event, the Mass Timber Summit) in Portland was that more local manufacturers of cross-laminated timber and other mass timber products will be needed to really jumpstart the industry in the Northwest.
As if on cue, just before the conference, Freres Lumber of Western Oregon announced it was building a production facility to create veneer-based panels 12 feet wide by 48 feet long by up to 24 inches thick. Freres is calling the product the Mass Plywood Panel.
During the Mass TImber Conference, Vaagen Brothers Lumber of Northwest Washington also had a major announcement of its own. The Colville firm is creating a state-of-the-art mass timber manufacturing company. The firm, starting in 2018, will produce CLT and Glulam beams.
Company Vice President Russ Vaagen also announced the new company, Vaagen Timbers, on his blog.
The announcement was part of a great blog post by Vaagen, who described in compelling detail the various innovations, companies and speakers at the Mass Timber Conference.
This wasn’t your typical wood products show. There were organizations there that we focused on sustainability and like (London architect and conference speaker) Andrew Waugh says, “Timber allows us to grow our buildings from the energy of the sun.” Jason McLennan (Founder of the Living Building Challenge) created a new strategy for building where wood can be the centerpiece, allowing buildings to produce energy and water. They did just that with the Bullitt Center in Seattle. Creating a building that is built using mass timber and other eco-friendly products for a commercial office space that creates more power and clean water than it takes in.
It doesn’t take long to see that it’s no longer the days of the Timber Wars. Times are changing. Conversations are happening to create new solutions. Shared interests between all parties are driving product innovation and forest practices everyone can be proud of. And the products are pretty amazing in their own right.