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Working Together to Sell More Softwood Lumber

Don Demens, President & CEO
Western Forest Products

Industry is driving a wood revolution in North America by changing the way America builds.

On behalf of forest products industry, the Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) oversees programs that identify opportunities to promote the benefits and uses of softwood lumber products in construction.

In three short years, it is estimated initiatives sponsored by the SLB have resulted in new demand of nearly 1.5 billion board feet since 2012. It has further identified 11 billion board feet in growth opportunities

SLB-sponsored programs have achieved particular success by focusing on expanding the use of wood in non-traditional markets, such as mid-rise construction. One such example is the competition the United States Department of Agriculture and SLB championed that recently awarded $3 million to support tall wood demonstration projects – a 10-storey condominium building in Manhattan, New York and a 12-storey retail, office and apartment building in Portland, Oregon.

This is an exciting time to be in the forest products business as wood experiences a resurgence in popularity. Wood is a superior building material because it is light; affordable; quiet due to new building technology; energy efficient; and it has a reduced carbon footprint.

Meanwhile, back at home, other wood advocates are identifying opportunities to build with wood. Vancouver architect Michal Green is responsible for designing the tallest contemporary wood building in North America, the six-storey Wood Innovations and Design centre in Prince George. He has presented the Board with his vision to build a 30-storey wood frame building in Vancouver.

Countless other projects are popping up across the world driven by architects, developers and builders as governments update building codes to take advantage of the environmental and economic benefits of wood.

As a representative of Western Canada on SLB, I am proud of what the Board has achieved so far. I look forward to continuing the success of the Board as we sell more softwood lumber while opening new markets and enhancing the returns for B.C.’s coastal forest wood products.