Dr. Brian Bond and Dr. Henry Quesada have secured a second grant through the U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations program to help educate architects and designers about the advantages and properties of thermally-modified wood. This project builds off the knowledge gained through a previous U.S. Forest Service Wood Innovations funded project entitled, “Expanding Markets for Thermally-modified Wood Products Produced from Low- value Hardwood Species.”

The previous work determined that the best way to increase the use of thermally-modified wood (TMW) from low-value, underutilized hardwood species is to focus on educating the architectural community about its properties and benefits — focusing on those who can specify its use in buildings and projects.

A stack of dark brown thermally modified poplar siding with the number "6" written on the end of three boards. Three smaller samples stacked upon one another with the number "7" written on top.
Stack of thermally-modified wood.

The main goal of this work is to significantly increase the awareness of the architectural community about the current uses, architectural projects, and properties of TMW. Another goal is to compare TMW’s use to other materials. All of this is with the ultimate goal of increasing the use of low-value, underutilized hardwood species. The researchers will accomplish this by delivering national education and training activities through the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) at six locations in the U.S. and with two webinars.

Industry partners contributing to this work include Northland Forest Products, Atlanta Hardwoods, Bingaman and Son Lumber, and Grid Architects. These companies provided raw materials and gave their expertise and assistance in training during the previous part of this project. Dr. Omar Espinoza, a Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials alumni and faculty member at the University of Minnesota, will also contribute to the training efforts.

The Wood Innovations Grant program advances innovations in wood products that create jobs, revitalize local economies, and support sustainable forest land management. Thirty-five business, nonprofit, university, and tribal partners in 19 states and Puerto Rico will match the grants with an additional $131 million.