The Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) and USDA Forest Service’s second annual Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero Carbon is now open for proposals from eligible teams. Conceived to promote and expand the use of mass timber in American building projects, the competition awards $2 million in total to project proposals that showcase commercially viable and sustainable mass-timber or hybrid mass-timber building solutions and support the burgeoning sectors of wood products design, engineering, construction, and manufacturing. 

Fully supported by the SLB and USDA, funding for the competition aims to support the use of mass timber systems—cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam among them—and to “help project teams overcome barriers to the use of a new building material and system, most notably the costs of analyzing design and engineering alternatives and verifying that these solutions comply with applicable code(s),” per a competition overview. 

In June 2022, six projects were chosen as the winners of the first iteration of Building to Net-Zero Carbon, including an 18,780-square-foot office building in Portland, Oregon, and a 12-story multifamily and retail project in Denver designed by teams led by LEVER Architecture and ZGF Architects, respectively.

According to a statement from SLB, the winning proposals demonstrated “mass timber’s innovative, scalable applications in architectural design and [highlight] its significant role in reducing the built environment’s carbon footprint.” Competition guidelines also dictate that winning proposals pledge to use sustainably sourced wood and prioritize domestically harvested and manufactured timber products. Like with the inaugural competition cycle, eligible projects must be located in the U.S. and can include commercial, institutional, educational, industrial, mixed-use, and multi-family housing developments but not single-family homes. 

This year’s deadline is May 5, 2023, with an informative competition webinar slated for March 21. Winners will be announced the week of October 16. Visit the Softwood Lumber website for more details about entry qualifications and submission guidelines.