Golden Amendment to Create Timber Construction Program Included in Annual Defense Bill
WASHINGTON — In the House Armed Forces Readiness Subcommittee markup of the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) secured a provision yesterday that would direct the Department of Defense to conduct a pilot program for the use of mass timber products in military construction.
Mass timber, which includes cross-laminated timber, is a new category of wood composed of multiple solid wood panels nailed or glued together, which provide exceptional strength and stability. Maine is home to a growing mass timber industry that spans loggers, sawmill workers, UMaine researchers, and timber producers. Golden’s timber provision was included in the military construction section of the bill passed by the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee yesterday.
“Mass timber is the future of high-quality, cost-effective homebuilding. For our military, it represents the ability to build higher quality housing for servicemembers at a lower cost. For Maine loggers and the forest products industry, it represents a new and growing market for their wood fiber. I was proud to lead this effort to ensure we use mass timber to build the very best military housing for our nation’s servicemembers,” said Golden. “Maine is a leader in developing and manufacturing mass timber, and I’m glad that this legislation will support the next generation of workers in our forest products industry.”
Mass timber is often cheaper and faster to build with than steel and concrete. One study found that in many cases the material cost alone of cross-laminated timber was 20 percent less than that of steel and concrete. And cross-laminated timber can be prefabricated, cutting construction times by up to 25 percent and installation costs by a potential 50 percent.
“Mass timber is primed to be one of the pillars of Maine’s forest products economy in the future. Maine timber harvesters and haulers will play an essential role in supplying the fiber required for this next-generation product and we are proud that this product could soon be used to build housing for servicemembers,” said Professional Logging Contractors of Maine Executive Director Dana Doran. “We appreciate Congressman Golden’s work to secure this pilot program and develop a new market for the timber we harvest.”
“The mass timber pilot program will not only help the Department of Defense address the military’s housing needs but will do so utilizing a low-carbon building solution available today and provide new markets and jobs for loggers, sawmills, and other operations that produce and process wood fiber. Increasing the use of wood in construction to the maximum amount in the U.S. would be the equivalent of taking 4.4. million cars off of the road indefinitely, contributing significantly to national 2030 carbon reduction goals,” said American Wood Council President and CEO Jackson Morrill. “Additionally, mass timber construction speeds up construction time by at least 15-20 percent, ultimately saving money and getting service members into housing more quickly. AWC thanks Representative Golden for working to support housing for our military service men and women using sustainable building solutions that are also attractive and resilient.