Wood is hot these days. In fact, a recent article in Vox called wood “the hottest new thing in sustainability.” Yet for many architects and builders, wood is principally a structural or finish material needed to get a project built. So let’s take a look at some recent projects that have used wood from responsibly managed forests for beautiful projects.
Of course, we love the Bullitt Center and the Kendeda Building, two deep-green mass timber commercial buildings. It’s true that wood is, “the ‘Secret’ Ingredient in the World’s ‘Greenest’ Buildings,” as a recent article in Sustainable Brands suggests.
But there are plenty of other fantastic projects flying a bit under the radar that also deserve credit for doing the right thing when it comes to wood and forests. Take the Loom House, for example, which is an extensive residential remodel on Bainbridge Island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. When possible, the project used reclaimed wood first, like the old maxxim says, “reduce, reuse, recycle.” And when it came time to use new wood, 100 percent was FSC certified.
The architects for the Loom House, Miller Hull Partnership, have remodels and retrofits in their DNA. They believe in reuse to such an extent that they earned Living Building Petal Certification for their own office remodel, again making sure all new wood came with the FSC stamp of approval.
When The Nature Conservancy in Oregon began considering expanding their offices, they knew it was important to use wood; Oregon is a huge player in the US forest products industry. Given TNC’s mission, much of the wood was FSC certified in the Oregon Conservation Center, as the building is known - including the cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels used structurally in the new addition. For the siding, however, the Conservancy chose juniper from a grassland restoration project in Eastern Oregon, capturing their conservation mission in the process.
When it comes to new construction, JRA Green Builders is leading the way on responsible wood use. Their Birdhouse project on the Columbia River Gorge sets a new standard for wood use - not only is all wood FSC certified, they actually got the whole house certified. Just like a piece of furniture or guitar, the whole project is certified to show that only wood from FSC-certified sources was used.
From office renovations and residential retrofits to ground-up construction, FSC-certified wood is a key ingredient that makes the project sing. We hope these examples inspire you to look into FSC options on your next construction project.