Helping architecture students understand the climate-related benefits of choosing building materials from sustainably managed forests.
Why this Project Matters
Many architecture students have a limited understanding of the environmental benefits of using forest-based building materials. This can lead them to choose more carbon-intensive building products for their design projects after graduation. This grant project is designed to foster understanding among architecture students about the climate-related benefits of choosing building materials from sustainably managed forests. The importance of understanding carbon as it relates to generation and sequestration will also be emphasized.
How the Project Is Engaging Architecture Students to Understand the Benefits of Building with Sustainable Forest Products
The basic methodology behind this project is compellingly simple, students will exchange their university classroom for time spent in a sustainably managed working forest. Students will engage in timber harvesting. They will also tour sawmills and cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing facilities to learn firsthand the value of choosing forest products in their design work. Additionally, the students will meet with land and water management professionals in the U.S. Southeast to learn about the importance of sustainable forestry for conserving habitats and other key ecological values like clean water. Students will also gain an understanding of the sustainable nature of forest-based supply chains and discuss the emerging influence of forest products, such as mass timber, on building design.
After attending the immersive design camp in the woods. Students will be able to establish and estimate the carbon sequestration in a working forest. Emphasis will be placed on clearly acknowledging and defining current related terms like carbon sinks, carbon generation, carbon storage, and carbon sequestration. Measurable outcomes will be determined through a series of small exercises where students plan a series of working forest scenarios to understand the influence various activities have on the relationship between carbon and sustainably managed forests.
The SFI Community Grant Program is supporting this project. Students will also work in SFI-certified forests under the guidance of representatives of SFI-certified companies. SFI-certified products and the certification process will also be explored to help students better understand sustainability in construction and the importance of specifying certified wood building materials in future projects. SmartLam North America, an SFI-certified company, will help develop and produce a student prototype of a mass timber design project featuring CLT.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
The networking and relationship building between architecture students, design professionals, foresters, and wood manufacturers is intended to seed future familiarity in designing, specifying, and building with SFI‑certified wood. This relationship building will also serve to strengthen ties between SFI‑certified companies and Florida’s architecture community. The Florida SFI Implementation Committee will also act as a conduit between the Miami School of Architecture and the wider SFI network.
This partnership includes educators, architects, natural resources professionals, and SFI‑certified organizations.
- Project lead: University of Miami School of Architecture
- Sustainable forestry Initiative
- Florida SFI Implementation Committee
- Florida Forestry Association
- Atelier May
Michigan State University’s Forest Carbon and Climate Program—E-Learning Unit on Carbon and Climate Benefits in Well-Managed Forests
University of Idaho—Demonstrating Benefits of SFI-Certified Wood in a Mass Timber Arena
Mississippi Forest Foundation—Mississippi State University Architecture Students Gain Valuable Mass Timber Knowledge
SFI and green buildings