Boston’s ongoing quest to make new construction projects more environmentally friendly recently got a boost with the announcement of the second round of applications and funding for the Mass Timber Grant Program.
Here’s a quick review and breakdown:
In 2021, the Boston Planning & Development Agency and the Boston Society for Architecture launched the Mass Timber Accelerator Program, intended to promote the use of timber in new buildings in Boston and the region. Round One ran from September 2021 to June 2022.
The program included funds and technical assistance to help new projects consider the feasibility and benefits of using timber instead of less environmentally friendly steel and concrete. For context, the building sector accounts for 28% of global fossil fuel emissions each year, with the U.S. being among the biggest emitters.
Round One of the program saw mass timber (short for “massive timber”) used in seven projects, including two eight-story buildings.
With the resounding success of Round One, Round Two will open on October 4, with a virtual informational session open to all. This round will use mass timber in taller buildings (nine stories or taller). As a result, there will only be a maximum of three active private development projects selected.
The non-profit group WoodWorks will provide technical assistance, namely where and how mass timber can be safely incorporated into construction projects, cost impact and benefits. Projects selected will also receive $25,000 in financial assistance.
“Massive timber” refers to incorporating engineered, structural wood products in the construction of mid-rise developments.
These products include Glue Laminated Beams (Glulam), Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). The products are fabricated by binding large timber panels and beams under pressure using various adhesives. Each layer is stacked in alternating grain orientation for additional strength.
Roughly one metric ton of carbon dioxide is captured and stored in every cubic meter of mass timber. In contrast, more than one ton of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere for every ton of concrete and iron produced.