When we think of innovation in British Columbia, it’s often the Internet and computer science that first come to mind. The province’s forest sector, however, wants you to know that exciting innovations are happening in this conventional economic driver, embracing leading-edge technology to help revolutionize not only the industry but the world!
As we saw earlier this month with the exciting news of the BCIC Ignite Award going to a local partnership developing new 3D-printing filament from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fiber derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood, forest products are making their way into the world of high tech.
This kind of research and development is becoming more and more common within the sector. Scientists and researchers are consistently on the hunt for new uses for wood fibre: clothing, cosmetics, vehicle components, chemicals and advanced, environmentally friendly buildings made from engineered wood product.
More and more, we are looking at ways to take advantage of British Columbia’s raw resources keeping production and jobs here at home. A great example, Penticton based Structurlam manufactures cross-laminated timber (CLT). The high-tech, strong and durable engineered wood product they produce is allowing more mid- and high-rise buildings to be constructed using wood.
The new Brock Commons student residence at the University of British Columbia was built using made-in-B.C. CLT technology. This 18-story building is 53 metres high and stands as the tallest wood structure in the world – a testament to the possibilities that home-grown innovation in our forest sector has to offer.
The sector is eager to innovate in other areas, too, as evidenced by the recent announcement on behalf of the Government of British Columbia to invest $7.8 million to advance wood building products and systems as well as promoting our product overseas.
“The collaborative approach between industry and government toward market development ensures that our sector remains competitive and that we can continue to develop and diversify opportunities for the sector in targeted export markets,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO, Council of Forest Industries.
The Canadian forest sector has been a strong supporter of green building since the beginning, supporting ecologically sound standards, materials and techniques. It has also worked hard to educate builders on the environmental, social and economic benefits of using wood in both residential and commercial buildings.
These efforts allow for continued and enhanced sector development ensuring continuing demand for British Columbia forest products, derived from sustainable forests.
The BC forest sector has developed ground-breaking applications from stewardship through manufacturing. From developing new engineered wood products that allow for innovative building design to being at the forefront of forestry research, certification and green building, we’re ensuring Canadian forests are better managed than ever.