The University of Idaho’s new mass timber sports arena offers opportunity to showcase the benefits of sourcing and building with local SFI-certified wood
Why this Project Matters
Ensuring sustainable consumption of natural resources is more important than ever. Timber has significantly lower CO2 emissions than steel and concrete and is a renewable resource. Sourcing timber through forest certification standards like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative offers a proof point that the products come from well-managed forests. The Inland Northwest is uniquely positioned with vast timber resources and existing primary manufacturing to support emerging wood markets like mass timber. Increased adoption of wood in commercial construction would support local community employment and provide economic incentive to manage forests to reduce the impacts of wildfire, disease, and insect outbreaks in the region.
Relevancy to SFI
The University of Idaho Arena, scheduled for completion in 2021, will use wood products manufactured in Idaho by SFI-certified companies. Idaho Forest Group will harvest the timber from the University of Idaho Experimental Forest and process it for manufacturing by Boise Cascade into glulam beams. PotlatchDeltic will harvest timber from its SFI-certified lands to process architectural finished grade plywood to be used throughout the arena. These companies are donating time, materials and equipment towards the construction of the arena. The arena will showcase their products and provide a living laboratory for architects, builders, and the general public to learn about the environmental and economic benefits of using sustainably sourced fiber in commercial construction.
The SFI Community Grant Program is supporting this project. The proposed scope of work will demonstrate the benefits derived through the supply chain by using SFI-certified companies and the SFI Fiber Sourcing Standard. The goals are to leverage SFI partnerships to increase public awareness and market adoption of engineered wood products and enhance student training and research. This addresses several SFI focal areas, including highlighting established conservation values associated with SFI certification to engage key market influencers, brand owners, conservation stakeholders, and related interests. SFI certified wood is also eligible for credits through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
The project will include professional training and workshops designed specifically for architects, engineers, contractors, and building code officials to increase awareness of design standards and opportunities for commercial construction in the region. Training and workshops will be conducted in conjunction with SFI and partners. The Idaho SFI Implementation Committee will assist by promoting training, providing input on university instruction efforts, and collaborating on landscape design features that showcase the forest products industry through interpretive displays, native tree plantings, and commissioned art for the arena.
This partnership includes conservationists, researchers, SFI certified organizations, and family forest owners.
- Project lead: University of Idaho
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Idaho SFI Implementation Committee
- WoodWorks – Wood Products Council
- Idaho Forest Group (SFI‑certified organization)
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