Boston – In partnership with the City of Boston and the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), the BSA hosted the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator Launch event on Sept. 29.
One of the evening’s keynote speakers, Tom Chung FAIA (LEED AP, BD+C Principal, Leers Weinzapfel Associates), noted that the development of digital fabrication technology has met the urgent need to cut carbon. Because of these advances, mass timber construction can use smaller, higher-quality pieces of wood instead of only larger, mature trees.
Building with wood has clear climate benefits and can also boost local economies and create beautiful buildings. To help make the case for mass timber construction, keynote speaker Nicole St. Claire Knobloch (Principal, Olifant, LLC) brought in a holistic perspective, intersecting design and regional economic development.
The Boston Mass Timber Accelerator aims to position mass timber practices as a key element in creating a net zero carbon economy throughout the city. Through this program, up to 10 local development projects will be awarded $25,000 grants to undertake feasibility studies for mass timber construction. Each team will also receive technical assistance from WoodWorks, a nonprofit that offers free project support to enable teams to create wood buildings throughout the US.
The City Council recently passed the Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) 2.0 to address operational carbon emissions. Within the next month, Boston will have a Coastal Flood Resilience Zoning Overlay to protect its residents and buildings from rising seas and increased storm surge.