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LEVER receives USDA Wood Innovations Grant

LEVER is a recipient of a 2021 USDA Wood Innovations Grant! The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded more than $15 million to fund grant proposals to develop and expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets, and protect community forests.

In partnership with Sustainable Northwest and Ecotrust, LEVER will work with industry partners to build Forest to Frame: An Architecture of Resilient Forestry, a web-based platform for researching and tracking regional wood products that will meet the building industry’s changing needs, as well as a tool to better understand the forestry practices associated with these products. A goal for the platform is to disseminate information about regional forests that can be easily understood by people from a wide range of backgrounds, including the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) community, developers, and the local community at large. The effort will include targeted outreach to underserved communities, including BIPOC-owned, women-owned, and emerging small businesses (MWESB) and design firms.

A fundamental purpose of Forest to Frame is to provide an accessible entry point for the design and construction industry to understand regional forest practices and make better-informed decisions when specifying materials and designing buildings. By making the diversity of existing forest practices more legible to a broad audience, this project will allow the “consumer” (i.e., architects, engineers, builders, developers, government agencies, etc) to make material selection choices based on what regional forests the wood is coming from and how those forests are being managed.

LEVER Principal and Founder Thomas Robinson says, “We are honored to receive a Wood Innovations Grant. This grant will allow LEVER to create an informational and educational tool for anyone interested and engaged in using wood products in buildings. We hope this web-based platform will identify gaps and barriers in knowledge-sharing within the timber and design industries.”