This month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced $8.9 million in funding through its Wood Innovation Grant program. The program awarded $250,000 to the University of Oregon’s Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory (ESBL) for its project, “Facilitation of Acoustics Testing for Sustainable Mass Timber Technologies, Leading to Publication of Open Source Acoustics Data for Standard Acoustics Scenarios.”
Over a 36-month period, the project aims to collect acoustics data for mass timber constructions with a new acoustics-testing facility, aiming to push forward mainstream acceptance of sustainable mass-timber construction technologies. Mass timber is a relatively new field—Oregon was the first state to legalize mass-timber high rises in 2018 with the adoption of a code provision allowing heavy timber (wood) buildings to be built above six stories.
“After we won the High Impact Opportunity Project grant from Business Oregon to build the Oregon Acoustics Research Laboratory (OARL), we have received tremendous support and we have been flooded with requests for its use,” explained Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, ESBL director and associate professor of architecture in the School of Architecture & Environment.“In particular, the engineered timber industry in Oregon is ready to put it to use to support development of new cross-laminated timber and mass plywood products developed here in Oregon.”
He added, “We plan to have our facility operational in 2021. We believe this will help unlock more potential for engineered timber buildings.”
The project team includes Professor of Architecture Judith Sheine, who is also director of design for the TallWood Design Institute, which is collaborating with ESBL on the project.
Read more about the Wood Innovation Grant program in the Forest Service’s news release, “Forest Service announces 2019 Wood Innovation Grant Awards.”