Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mass Timber Conference Presentation PDFs

PDFs are available for many of the presentations from the 2018 Mass Timber Conference that was held in Portland in March. Check out the link below for the description of the presentations and to download.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Defining the "Reference Building" in WBLCA

In the new world of LEED v4, there are three points available for projects that complete a Whole Building LCA (WBLCA) and show improvement over a baseline "reference building". There is potential for the structure to greatly contribute to this improvement, but the rules for defining the reference structure are unclear.

SEI's Sustainability Committee is working to develop a guide, titled Guide to Definition of the Reference Building Structure and Strategies in Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment, to help define a standard and to ensure a nominal level of integrity in comparing structural designs using WBLCA.

For more information, check out this article from Structure Magazine.

CLT Bill Passes WA State Legislature

SB 5450, a bill that supports the expanded use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) in the state has been signed into law. The legislation required the State Building Code Council to adopt rues for the use of mass timber products for residential and commercial building construction, and passed with a large majority.

For more information, check out this blog post by Forterra.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tokyo Skyscraper to be World's Tallest Wood Building

A proposed skyscraper in Tokyo would be the tallest wooden structure in the world. The 70-story tower will have a hybrid wood and steel structure. Read more about the project and other tall wood buildings around the world: https://www.cnn.com/style/article/wooden-skyscrapers-timber-trend-catching-fire-duplicate-2/index.html

Model LCA Specifications

MKA has developed model specification templates for requiring LCA data for structural materials, which are available for download from the Carbon Leadership Forum. These templates are editable and open access, and MKA hopes to receive feedback from projects that utilize them to continue to improve the specifications.

Visit the CLF website for additional information and to download the templates: http://www.carbonleadershipforum.org/2017/02/09/model-lca-specifications/

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2018 Legislative Session

Carbon taxes and other LCA-related bills are back with the 2018 Washington Legislative Session that recently started.

There are several carbon tax bills currently proposed in both the house and senate, but the one to pay the most attention to is SB 6203, the governor's tax plan, with 16 senators co-sponsoring. The first public hearing was held on January 16, and video of that session is available at the link above. This bill would levy an initial $20/ton tax on emissions from fossil fuel combustion and electricity generation. It does not address embodied emissions from a source such as cement importation or emissions for chemical processes like cement hydration.

HB 2412, the Buy Clean Washington bill, is more focused on construction materials. It would direct state agencies including DES to set maximum acceptable embodied carbon equivalents for a variety of construction materials, including concrete, steel, and wood. The maximums would be set using industry-average EPDs. The current bill is "broad and short" and will like undergo further development prior to any floor vote. The first public hearing was last week, video available at the bill link.

The Embodied Carbon Network is tracking HB 2412 and hopes to help in the development to ensure it is a usable standard for the construction industry.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

2017 legislative session

There are several bills currently in the Washington legislature that would have impacts on sustainable design and structural engineers. There are (at least) two versions of a carbon tax, following last year's Initiative 732. One comes from the governor's office as SB 5127 while the other has been sponsored by Joe Fitzgibbon as HB 1646.

There is also a bill (SB 5379) to require use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) to the "maximum extent possible" in public buildings under 12 stories.

Update 2/23:
A second CLT bill has been introduced, (SB 5450) with a much more general directive to the building code council to address CLT in Washington codes. 

SEAW does not endorse specific positions on specific legislation, but I encourage members and firms to consider their positions on these bills and contact their legislators as appropriate.