Local wood products may cause economic boom in western Massachusetts

Apr. 06, 2017

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The state has identified forests in western Massachusetts where wood could be used to build buildings throughout Boston and even New York City.

It’s called cross laminated timber, or CLT; think of it as plywood on steroids. The New England Forestry Foundation and state leaders announced at UMass Amherst that this type of wood is found throughout the Berkshires and Franklin counties.

The foundation is pushing the state to use this advanced engineered wood in our own backyard to make more sustainable buildings.

Wednesday’s meeting was held at the UMass Design Building, which is the largest CLT building in New England. Using CLT takes less energy to produce than steel and concrete, and is more eco-friendly.

Frank Lowenstein of the New England Forestry Foundation told 22News, “The way forests are managed here in New England, we really can produce a stream of wood products for society from them without damaging the forest, without destroying wildlife or habitat.”

With CLT, you can make panels up to 60 feet long and 20 inches thick. The foundation said this wood use could create a boom in economic development in western Massachusetts. It can also better connect businesses with the eastern half of the state.

By Alessandra Martinez