Clemson University’s Wood Utilization and Design Institute has added California-based company Katerra to its member program. Katerra joined the institute as a founding member, giving $50,000 toward the institute’s mission of researching, educating and providing resources for industry stakeholders in a variety of disciplines to advance wood-based products.
“Clemson is delighted to have Katerra as one of its founding partners,” Pat Layton, the institute’s director, said in a news release. “The innovation they are bringing to the construction industry to set forward a path to increase efficiencies within the building construction systems may provide a transformational change in how we build homes and communicate in the future.”
“We are pleased to be a part of the Wood Utilization and Design Institute, which is bringing together diverse stakeholders to advance the wood products industry in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast,” Hans-Erik Blomgren, director of testing and characterization at Katerra said in the news release. “Mass timber represents the future of sustainable construction. Through effective collaboration we can drive positive economic and environmental outcomes for end consumers, companies and students alike.”
Katerra is a construction and technology services company that applies systems approaches to remove unnecessary time and costs from building design and construction, according to the company’s website. Katerra’s offerings range from architecture and engineering services to interior design, materials supply and construction management for a growing number of building markets.
Katerra is building a 250,000 square-foot manufacturing plant in Spokane, Washington, to produce cross-laminated timber, according to the news release.
The forest industry has a $21 billion impact on the South Carolina economy. More than two thirds of land in South Carolina — 12.9 million acres — is forested, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More forested land is made up of loblolly pines than anything else and most of it is in private hands, according to USDA data.
The USDA’s 2016 resources update said the state is experiencing a gradual decrease, with the loss of 28,000 acres of timber and forest land from 2015 to 2016. Clemson’s Wood Utilization and Design Institute intends to drive the development, demand and utilization of wood products, and to address the industry’s needs for the next generation of talent, the university news release said. Researchers with the institute currently are testing cross-laminated timber to determine burn rates, wind resistance and structural load.
The institute was established in 2013 as a multidisciplinary engine of innovation where foresters, architects, engineers, constructors and building industry stakeholders coalesce to design advancements in wood-based construction materials to compete with steel, concrete and other materials currently used in nonresidential construction, the news release said.