FORSYTH, Georgia – The Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF) was announced as a recipient of project funding from the USDA Forest Service’s Wood Innovations Grant. The $199,100 grant will provide critical project funding for GFF to position Georgia’s working forests as a leading solution to developing sustainable communities with mass timber as the state’s population and cities continue to grow.
Mass timber is an engineered wood product that provides the same structural qualities as steel and concrete while reducing the carbon footprint of a building by 60 percent on average, according to a study by Oregon State. Georgia is the fifth fastest growing state according to the 2020 U.S. Census, and as the population continues to grow, development of commercial and residential buildings has risen to keep up with demand. GFF’s efforts to advance mass timber construction are focused on educating and engaging with architects, engineers and developers to increase awareness of the inherent renewable and sustainable qualities of mass timber and how it can revolutionize the built environment.
“Mass timber provides an opportunity for us to re-imagine the places we live, work and play,” said John Mulcahy, GFF Board of Trustees Chairman and Vice President of Stewardship at Georgia-Pacific. “As a nationally—and globally—recognized leader in forest products, Georgia is uniquely positioned to leverage our renewable resources to provide a deeper connection to nature in the built environment, while adding warmth and comfort to our buildings. I am excited to be a part of this innovative project.”
The funding received through the Wood Innovations Grant will help accelerate GFF’s development of a Mass Timber Demonstration Pavilion and Awareness Campaign. Earlier this year, GFF partnered with Georgia Tech’s Digital Fabrication Lab to host a Mass Timber Design Studio. The Studio brought together students in Architecture, Civil Engineering and Construction Management. The students formed teams to develop an architectural design, cost estimate and small-scale model for a mass timber pavilion that can be moved to different high-profile areas across the state.
“Our vision for this project is to help people fall in love with wood as a structural material,” said Andres Villegas, GFF President and CEO. “The mobile mass timber pavilion will take visitors on a journey, exploring the natural, versatile and sustainable aspects of wood in the built environment.”
Visitors will be able to explore and interact with the display, learning about Georgia’s working forests and the role they play in sustainable development and carbon capture, including housing the 80 percent of Georgia’s population that will live in an urban or suburban area by 2050.
GFF will be engaging a diverse group of organizations, businesses and individuals to support the project. To learn more about this partnership and how you can support this initiative, please visit gffgrow.org/georgia-tech
The Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF), established in 1990, is a 501 (c) (3) organization that acts as the educational arm of the Georgia Forestry Association. GFF seeks to educate and engage Georgians with the story of working forests and capitalize on our most important opportunities to capture carbon, filter water, provide wildlife habitat, create jobs and build sustainable communities. For more information, visit www.gffgrow.org