Mass Timber Resources in Minnesota

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Does Minnesota have what it takes to become the country’s next mass timber producer? That’s precisely what APEX, the MN DNR, the US Forest Service and the University of Minnesota, Duluth hope to discover with a new study on the industry.
Mass timber is an engineered wood product designed for structural applications. It can be used for structural support in place of concrete, steel or masonry and is being adopted in locations around the U.S. with enthusiasm. Mass timber has the strength, stability, and flexibility required for construction, with the smaller carbon footprint associated with renewable resources. There are opportunities for great synergies with hybrid buildings, using both steel and mass timber.
Today, Minnesota’s sawmills produce lumber for the residential construction industry. A shift to mass timber would diversify our market to support future manufacturing facilities in Minnesota and beyond. With just two mass timber producers in operation in the U.S. today, this an excellent opportunity for Minnesota to enter the market. Potential mass timber species in Minnesota are led by red pine and Jack pine, with potential opportunities in the future for balsam fir and spruce.
The primary focus of the mass timber study is to determine if Minnesota can support secondary mass timber production, but will also examine the following key areas:

  1. How will the mass timber industry impact our economy?
  2. Is there interest for mass timber in the Twin Cities, Madison and Chicago markets?
  3. Do Minnesota’s building codes allow for the use of mass timber in low to mid-rise developments?
  4. If Minnesota is a suitable location for secondary manufacturing of mass timber, how do we move forward strategically?

The mass timber study kicked off in May and is funded by the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, along with APEX investor-members Blandin Foundation, Minnesota Power and Great River Energy. Production capacity results are projected to be available this fall and a final report will be published in early 2019.

“Mass timber, while a new industry to the U.S., has been thriving in Europe for more than 15 years. This research is the key and will arm us as we strategically move forward in this new and growing industry,” says Tamara Lowney, APEX Senior Business Developer and lead on mass timber.

For questions or more information, please get in touch with Tamara Lowney.

Category: Industry