International Policies and Guardrails To Promote Mass Timber as a Climate and Nature Solution
Paul will share insights about international policies that are currently in place to advance mass timber and how they’re going (e.g. France’s mandate for timber in buildings), mass timber policies in development internationally, and policies from other sectors (e.g. renewable energy) that we should be adapting to advance mass timber.
He will also set out some of the ‘guardrails’ that need to be put in place to ensure these policies have the desired effect and mitigate the risk of unintended consequences for the climate and nature.
Seeking Incentives for Mass Timber Construction at Scale
Though we know the benefits of mass timber construction — a renewable material and potential climate solution, applicable to missing mid-rise construction, fast to construct — its use is not yet scaling up in U.S. cities. This is due in part to lack of reliable supply, but that in turn is inhibited by a lack of steady demand. Drawing on the example of renewable energy incentives over the past few decades, Olifant works to convince city planners to find ways to incentivize the use of mass timber, alone or in hybrid structures with conventional materials, to meet climate and housing goals. We are also working to help other actors, such as insurers and developers, get comfortable with its use.
This presentation will describe a series of illustrated studies we’ve done with BuroHappold, LeMessurier, Generate and SCB architects, and Turner Construction, in addition to Springboard Forestry, on how mass timber can be used, why it should be encouraged, and where we can source it. And we’ll describe some of the early policy results and interest we’re seeing. We’re currently working with partners in Minneapolis, Denver, and Atlanta, with research on sourcing feasibility from the upper Midwest, Rocky Mountains, and U.S. Southeast.
Why Mass Timber Deserves Supportive Policies and What We Should Ask For
New, “green” technologies typically succeed in the United States only with supportive policy interventions to help them along. Hard-won incentives for solar, renewable portfolio standards, PACE financing, rebates and HOV lanes for hybrid vehicles are paying off, significantly increasing the adoption of renewable energy and transportation technologies. Mass timber needs and deserves its own set of policy support but getting them is going to require the same level of, initiative, planning, and consistent advocacy.
We’ll talk about why policies really matter — especially for owners and developers who want to build mass timber buildings — when it comes to mainstreaming mass timber and take a look at some policy models and ideas that may be worth fighting for.
Michigan State University