This bill would establish a performance-driven research and development (R&D) program focused on using innovative wood products in building construction, particularly for the construction of tall wood buildings that are at least 85 feet tall. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) would be responsible for administering the program, and providing grants to support state, local, university, and private sector outreach activities and R&D aimed at accelerating the use of wood in tall buildings. As a building material, wood has a lower environmental impact, higher insulation rating, and better tensile strength than other materials such as steel.
The USDA would be authorized to, in cooperation with state foresters and officials, implement an education and technical assistance program for mass timber applications. It would also prioritize proposals that include the use or retrofitting (or both) of existing sawmill facilities located in counties where the unemployment rate exceeds the national rate by more than 1 percent in the previous calendar year.
The bill also authorizes a Tall Wood Building Prize Competition through the USDA each year for the next five years.