Maine mass timber event offers insight into opportunities for the state’s forest products industry

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ORONO – The Maine Mass Timber Event, a daylong conference focused on established and emerging cost-effective mass timber construction technologies that are growing in popularity nationwide and around the globe, will be held Oct. 11 at the University of Maine, offered by UMaine’s Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center in partnership with WoodWorks – Wood Products Council.

The conference, designed to bring together regional stakeholders to ensure Maine is seizing upon mass timber opportunities, begins at 8:45 a.m. in Wells Conference Center. More information is online at https://composites.umaine.edu/key-services/wood-composites/maine-mass-timber-conference/.

As part of an initiative to invigorate and diversify Maine’s rural forest-based economy, mass timber manufacturing facilities in the state could supply the growing demand for urban construction and multistory housing along the Eastern seaboard, according to Russell Edgar, UMaine wood composites manager of the Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center, part of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

“With nearly 90 percent of Maine’s land area covered in forests — the largest percentage in the U.S. — and geographic proximity to one of the world’s largest urban population centers, Maine is an ideal location for rural, economic revitalization through the sustainable production of mass timber,” says Edgar, who is helping organize the Maine Mass Timber Event.

The conference will cover key topics related to bringing mass timber production to Maine and the region, including issues related to the supply side (manufacturing, utilization of Maine lumber and workforce needs) and demand side (design and construction of products and structures, code applications, fire resistance and developer obstacles). Speakers will include mass timber manufacturers, sawmill owners, architects, developers, landowners and engineers.

The Maine Mass Timber Commercialization Center was established in 2017 with U.S. Economic Development Administration funding. It serves to increase awareness of mass timber construction practices, and manufacturing opportunities in Maine through collaboration with industrial partners, trade organizations, construction firms, architects and other groups, while promoting Maine as an ideal location for mass timber manufacturing facilities.