By: The Working Forest Staff
Ontario is investing in research, education, and construction of tall wood buildings so more wood products can be used in new homes and taller buildings through the new Mass Timber Program. This program is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province’s carbon market.
The use of wood in infrastructure can help address climate change by storing carbon in buildings and by avoiding greenhouse gas pollution associated with other carbon-intensive materials.
Ontario’s Mass Timber Program has been developed to promote the use of wood in taller buildings by:
- Providing funding for research and development of innovative wood products, undertaken by academic and private research organizations, to support potential wood-related changes to the Building Code and other standards
- Funding post-secondary education institutions to provide skills development and technical training and to create tools relating to using wood in construction
- Supporting the establishment of a tall wood research institute in Ontario, in partnership with researchers, universities, and colleges
- Demonstrating the successful use of mass timber in design, construction, and the fire safety of taller wooden buildings (seven storeys and higher) including four tall wood demonstration projects.
- Ontario is investing $7.8 million for the research, education, and construction of tall wood buildings.
- Mass timber refers to large engineered wood products, including wood panels, beams, and columns, used in the structural systems of high or mid-rise buildings.
- In 2015, Ontario made changes to its Building Code related to the use of wood-frame construction in mid-rise construction of up to six storeys. Numerous projects have been designed and built to these new Building Code requirements and more are coming.
- The province has also released Ontario’s Tall Wood Reference: A Technical Resource for Developing Alternative Solutions under Ontario’s Building Codeto assist architects, engineers, building and fire officials, and developers in the development of safe alternative solutions for taller wood projects.
- In addition to environmental benefits, mass timber structures will have lower building costs due to quicker construction times, while maintaining fire safety standards.
- The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario’s strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 80 percent by 2050, while investing in programs that help Ontario families and businesses save money and lower greenhouse gas emissions.