Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center Overview

The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center brings together industrial partners, trade organizations, construction firms, architects, and other stakeholders in the region to revitalize and diversify Maine’s forest-based economy by bringing innovative mass timber manufacturing to the State of Maine. The emergence of this new innovation based industry cluster will result in positive economic impacts to both local and regional economies, particularly in Maine’s rural communities.

The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center has four focus areas:

  1. Formalize and support efforts of the recently formed (2016) Maine Mass Timber Advisory Committee (MMTAC), to-date an informal/ad hoc group of University scientists and economists, sawmills, the Maine Forest Products Council, engineers, architects, general contractors and others.
    • The MMTAC will be expanded to include code officials and consultants from critical research areas including fire, acoustics and hygrothermal behavior.  Members will organize site visits for potential manufacturers and investors, give seminars, offer testimony, as well as facilitate local “town hall” type meetings to further educate the public on mass timber as well as the group’s efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest products industry.
    • The Commercialization Center and MMTAC will coordinate and sponsor a roadmapping conference to better identify research and policy needs affecting mass timber construction in the Northeastern U.S. as well as CLT manufacturing in Maine.
    • The MMTAC, will investigate avenues for State of Maine support for a CLT demonstration project for Maine.  A successful CLT demonstration project in Maine may be the single most important driver of this technology locally, and serve as a de-risking tool for investors, designers, and manufacturers considering siting a plant in Maine.
  2. Coordinate execution of a Life Cycle Analyses (LCA) of competing construction systems, which the wood design community in North America agrees is a need to demonstrate the environmental benefits of using CLT2. In 2017, UMaine’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development (OIED) was awarded a competitive grant to perform a cost analysis comparing CLT construction to traditional steel and concrete for a specified building.  Preliminary LCAs will be conducted on the conceptual designs resulting from the project described above.  In doing so, funds will be leveraged to enhance the overall objective of both programs, while adding to the much-needed database of LCA on CLT construction in North America.
  3. Create an Attraction Package to help attract a mass timber manufacturer to invest and locate in Maine. The Business Attraction Package will present several possible locations for a CLT plant within the state, based on criteria such as: site characteristics, environmental issues, utilities, transportation access, labor profile, business climate, quality of life, public services, and State and Federal incentive and tax exemption/credit programs applicable to CLT manufacturing facilities.
  4. Develop products to make Maine more competitive in the North American mass timber market.  Due to the smaller diameter logs in the Northeast (compared to other regions of the county), sawmills in Maine produce, on average, smaller dimensioned lumber.  While Maine’s sawmills manufacture significant volumes of nominal 2-inch thick lumber (the predominant lumber thickness used in CLT), other products, such as nominal 1-inch thick boards are also produced in significant quantities. Proposed product development will include investigating the use of this thinner lumber in CLT. Rapid investigation is needed to (1) ensure the Maine lumber resource is a competitive raw material component for CLT products, and (2) demonstrate this technology option to future CLT manufacturers.

Brock Commons: An 18 story wood building

ATF Fire Testing of Cross Laminated Timber

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