Wood First Plus! to be hub for environmental timber

Published:  26 September, 2012

UK: Wood for Good, the timber industry sustainability and promotion campaign, has announced the start of a collaborative research and development project: Wood First Plus!

The aim of the project is to create a central point of information containing all of the data necessary to promote timber and timber products as a 'primary and preferred construction material' along with a programme to communicate this key data to key audiences. This process should also help improve on current industry sector performance.

Stuart Harker, managing the project from the Timber Trade Federation, said: "Environmental impacts, along with cost and performance, are going to be key customer drivers for the foreseeable future across the construction products sector. Environmental sustainability assessment is increasingly delivered through assessment of supply chains, design, construction, whole-life assessment and end-of-life aspects. As these measurements increase in importance, so too does the demand for robust, accessible data. This project aims to deliver that."

Wood First Plus - named after Wood for Good's Wood First campaign - is targeting three areas key to specification and design with timber:

1 Carbon: this workstream will provide clarity and direction on the carbon credentials of timber products

2 Lifecycle Assessment: this aims to communicate the environmental impacts associated with timber through lifecycle assessment (LCA), provide a system to develop Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for products and identify areas of significant environmental impact to aide supply chain improvements and efficiency

3 Engineering: this aims to ensure that the necessary data is available to enable the design and specification of timber in one easily accessible place. It will focus on the requirements of, and compatibility with, Building Information Modelling (BIM) and structural analysis software.

The project is an ambitious undertaking and involves a core funding and operations team of Wood for Good, Timber Trade Federation, Forestry Commission Scotland, and TRADA. It will also involve consultation and input from wider timber industry organisations as well as extensive engagement and input from external stakeholders, including contractors groups, architects, professional institutions and many others.

The core team will manage the project and regularly communicate progress, primarily through Wood for Good. The final data for each workstream will be housed in its own easily accessible website - managed by Wood for Good.

David Hopkins, head of communications for Wood for Good, said: "It is important that the information gathered is made easily accessible and communicated to the end-user effectively and freely. Wood for Good, as the pan-industry communications campaign, is a natural home for this. We will be promoting the results as they become available."

The project partners will be communicating with key stakeholders during the autumn to gather data across a range of product areas. The project will continue into 2013. For more information, contact Stuart Harker on sharker@ttf.co.uk

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