ReThink Wood

  • Wood is Renewable

    Wood is a renewable and responsible choice that helps reduce our environmental footprint.

  • Wood Meets Code
    Advanced technology and modern building codes are expanding the opportunities for wood in construction.
  • Wood Costs Less

    Wood products offer advantages in terms of material, construction and environmental costs.

Wood Offers High-Performance, Cost-Effective Option for School Construction

Designing with wood ensures safe, resilient and appealing structures that are ideal for educational facilities

Dowload this Press Release in .pdf

WASHINGTON, DC, January 30, 2017 – An estimated $6.1 billion was spent on new school construction in 2015, a number that is expected to increase as U.S. schools look to accommodate an estimated 2.8 million more students by 2024. To meet this demand, education administrators need to select building material options that meet budget parameters and ensure the well-being of the structure’s occupants. Wood building solutions are an ideal option as they can meet budget and rigorous safety requirements, be erected quickly, and provide a lower carbon footprint than traditional building materials.

Optimal for educational and institutional building construction, wood building solutions typically cost less than alternatives – the average elementary and middle schools could realize cost savings of nearly 22 percent – and wood construction is fast, particularly with prefabrication and panelized products like cross-laminated timber and mass timber technologies. Wood structures meet rigorous safety and environmental performance requirements required for educational facilities and classrooms. For example, wood-frame schools are a prevalent option on the West Coast, where seismic and wind-resistant design challenges are an area of concern.

Wood building solutions are selected in university housing scenarios where cost, functionality and speed are paramount. “We have seen a very strong trend toward the use of wood in student housing,” says Beth Brett, project manager for Mahlum. “With the rising cost of construction, universities are looking to the use of wood in student housing to reduce costs and help manage their project budgets.”

As a renewable resource, wood offers a lower carbon footprint over other common building materials, and improved energy efficiency performance due to its inherent insulating qualities. Additionally, school designers and facility planners cite other attributes of wood as a motivating factor for its use, including a growing body of biophilic research that links the use of exposed wood to occupant well-being.


“From an environmental standpoint, a significant benefit of using mass timber as a primary structure—instead of steel or concrete with their relatively higher processing emissions— is its capacity to sequester carbon over the building’s lifetime,” says Alan Organschi, principal of Gray Organschi Architecture and designer of Common Ground High School in New Haven, Connecticut. “We estimate the project offsets 447 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of the annual emissions of 95 vehicles.”


View our Project Gallery of Educational Facilities

reThink Wood provides information and educational resources on designing with wood in a variety of applications for building professionals. reThink Wood’s continuing education course, Designing Modern Wood Schools, offers AIA and GBCI credits and information on how designing with wood delivers high-performance, cost-effective educational facilities. Additional wood building resources are available at


Media Contact:
Jeanine Takala
Edelman for reThink Wood
(206) 664.7805


About reThink Wood
reThink Wood represents North America's softwood lumber industry. We share a passion for wood and the forests it comes from. Our goal is to generate awareness and understanding of wood’s advantages in the built environment. Join the reThink Wood community to make a difference for the future. Be part of the conversation to “rethink” wood use, address misperceptions and enhance awareness of wood’s benefits and choices. Learn more at





Designing Modern Wood Schools - CEU

There is a strong case to be made for using wood in school construction, both to accommodate a growing number of students with structures that are cost effective, and to do so while creating high-performance buildings that are safe, resilient, and appealing.

Learn and earn with our latest CEU:

Wood: A Material of Choice for Modern Wood Schools

Building on the trend toward mass timber in school design, several recent school projects chose mass timber to create buildings that are cost effective, energy-efficient, resilient and safe.


Franklin Elementary School, West Virginia
Franklin Elementary is the first design-build school project for the state of West Virginia, and the first school in the U.S. to be built using cross laminated timber (CLT). Learn more:


Bethel School District, Washington
Cost-efficient wood framing leads to energy efficient schools. Bethel School District is proving they can save construction costs and build energy-efficient schools at the same time, leaving more money for educating students. Learn more:


Eldorado High School, Arkansas
The design team for Eldorado High School saved $2.7M with wood framing. Learn more:

CLT modular classroom buildings for K-3 education

As part of the 2016 supplemental capital budget in Washington state, $5.5 million has been set aside for the construction of cross-laminated timber (CLT) modular classroom buildings for K-3 education. Four classrooms each will be provided to five school districts across the state. In addition to reducing class sizes, the classrooms will act as a model for additional districts and states to follow.

CLT is a type of mass timber product typically consisting of three, five, or seven layers of dimension lumber oriented at right angles to one another and then glued to form structural panels. Mass timber products are ideal for school buildings because of their quick construction, environmental benefits and health benefits for occupants.

More details about the project can be found here along with the following media articles:



Learn more about CLT and other mass timber products at

Architecture 2030 Curriculum Project – Second Call for Proposals

Architecture 2030 Curriculum Project – Second Call for Proposals

Do you have an innovative teaching proposal for a course on wood design/technology? Architecture 2030 is calling on educators to submit proposals that expand and fully integrate lessons in energy use, emissions and resiliency into the widest possible range of projects and topic areas, and across all year levels – particularly in early design studios, history courses and areas where this material is not adequately or traditionally addressed.
With growing pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment, industry professionals – from students to building designers – are increasingly being called upon to balance functionality and cost objectives with reduced environmental impact. The choice of products we use to build, renovate and operate our cities has a significant impact on the environment, and wood is a cost-effective, renewable resource that can help to achieve that balance.
Take action today: Submit your proposals for winter, spring or summer session of the 2017-2018 academic year by January 3, 2017.

CAD Details
Access drawings and illustrations for wood-frame construction designed for high wind, seismic, and snow loads.
CAD/REVIT Construction Documents

Prepare construction documents faster by leveraging available details related to light-frame wood construction.

Heights And Areas Calculator
Ease building code analysis while maximizing your wood building project within the limits of the International Building Code (IBC).
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)
The American Wood Council (AWC) has developed environmental product declarations (EPDs) for North American wood products, including softwood lumber and glue-laminated lumber (glulam).
Span Calculator
Performs calculations for all species and grades of commercially available softwood and hardwood lumber as found in the NDS 2005 Supplement.
Connection Calculator
Provides users with a web-based approach to calculating capacities for single bolts, nails, lag screws and wood screws per the 2005 NDS.
Carbon Calculator
Promote the carbon benefits of your wood building project.
Athena Impact Estimator
A software tool that is designed to evaluate whole buildings and assemblies based on internationally recognized life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology.
Holzbau Pacific Northwest Conference - February 23 – 24, 2017

The Holzbau Pacific Northwest event is intended to fill a critical gap in the current provision of professional development by addressing questions specifically of interest to the manufacturing community. The conference will be focused around three key themes:


  1. Manufacturing and Installation:  Manufacturing processes for wood-based construction products and systems;
  2. Building Physics:  Building physics, energy efficiency trends, the changing regulatory landscape, and implications for building product manufacturers;
  3. Implications of Wood Construction Research for Manufacturers and Engineers:  Recent research and development in wood construction and the relevance and potential opportunities for manufacturers.

When:  February 23 – 24, 2017


Where:  Forest Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC


More info:

Evaluation of Recommended Allowable Design Properties for Wood in Existing Structures (DES160)

This webinar will address methods used to establish recommended allowable design properties for structural wood members in existing buildings. Education credits awarded.

When: Thursday, February 23, 2017
             1:55 pm - 3:00 pm EST.

Where: Complimentary Webinar

               telephone: 202-463-2704

More details:

Mass Timber Conference - March 28–30, 2017

Mass Timber Conference 2017 will explore the entire supply chain for cross-laminated timber, nail-laminated timber, glulam panels, laminated veneer lumber, and other mass timber; and the opportunities and obstacles for mass timber building construction around the world.


International experts will present addressing how we can advance cross-laminated timber and the mass timber industry, and how we can increase the use of wood in mid-rise and tall buildings across the world.


Attendees of the Mass Timber Conference will include professionals from across the forest, manufacturing, design, and construction industries.


When:  March 28–30, 2017


Where:  Portland, Oregon - Oregon Convention Centre


More info:





Architectural Institute of America Conference - April 27–29, 2017

AIA Convention 2017 will be one of the largest and most exciting annual gatherings of architects and design professionals in the U.S. The people, the ideas, the environment, the setting—it all comes together for an unforgettable experience that comes just once a year.


Convention features creative visionaries from the architecture and design industry and beyond. From software to building systems to stone and tile and wood, you’ll find materials and technologies of tomorrow featured in specialty product pavilions today.


When:  April 27-29, 2017
Where:  Orange County Convention Centre - Orlando, Florida
Webinar: A Roadmap to Tall Timber Structures: Design, Approval, Construction

A Roadmap to Tall Timber Structures: Design, Approval, Construction

Date: On Demand


Credit: 1 AIA LU/HSW


A movement is growing to use heavy and mass timber as primary structural materials for medium-height and tall buildings, in large part because timber is renewable, stores carbon and is energy efficient. New structural wood products, including cross-laminated timber, are also fueling this movement.


This webinar will give developers, owners, architects, engineers and contractors tips on how to go about creating timber buildings taller than four or five stories.



David Barber, Principal | Fire - Arup

Jeff Morrow, Program Manager, Construction - Lendlease

Thomas Robinson, Founding Principal - Lever Architecture



Nadine Post, Editor-at-Large, Buildings - Engineering News-Record 


Learning Objectives:

  • Examine the various types of heavy and mass-timber structural materials and systems used in the design of tall timber frames
  • Identify sustainability advantages and the general design challenges/opportunities of using heavy/mass timber as a structural system for a tall building
  • Determine a strategy for approvals and permitting of a tall timber building, including meeting the intent of the life safety codes through performance-based fire engineering
  • Evaluate approaches from a veteran builder to manage the construction of a building with a tall timber frame
  • Can't attend live? Register to view the webinar on-demand!

Register for this Webinar