Why wood is a high-tech material: the complete guide to sustainable American hardwoods
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Why wood is a high-tech material: the complete guide to sustainable American hardwoods

AHEC working to promote hardwood education and awareness

Why wood is a high-tech material: the complete guide to sustainable American hardwoods
By Editorial Staff -
Ahec has participated in the project

Can wood really be defined as high-tech, as German designer Pascal Hien insists? Can this natural material be considered cutting-edge? The answers to both questions are affirmative, and the reasons are explained in the newly released A Guide to Sustainable American Hardwoods. Published by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the guide is intended to raise awareness of the potential of this material. Representing US producers, the association promotes knowledge of hardwood’s characteristics, many of which it shares with high-tech materials, such as regeneration and regrowth technologies that ensure an infinite supply of the raw material. Also like high-tech materials, it requires minimal processing, has limited environmental impact, high plasticity, no harmful effects on human health, CO2 storage, and the option of off-site fabrication.

Hardwoods have always had all these properties, of course. Nothing has changed apart from a rapidly growing awareness of the material. As the AHEC says, “Wood is a preeminent high-tech material, but it will be architects, engineers, and designers who will lead the way in spreading this awareness in the construction industry and among the public.”


A Guide to Sustainable American Hardwoods


The release of this guide is very much a part of the revolution that the association is working to achieve, with building a stronger system of knowledge transfer and solid training key factors. But the revolution will also need the support of greater collaboration between creative decision makers and the timber industry. The aim of the guide is therefore to inform, educate, and inspire the broader community of business people, architects, designers, and end users so that they can make more informed choices, while ensuring a more sustainable future for forests and the entire supply chain.

With a focus on sustainability, the guide also addresses the international market’s growing concern with the environment and the climate crisis. And it does this along with supplying specifications, descriptions, and images of the various species of American hardwood. The guide also includes the results of a legality risk assessment commissioned by AHEC, an American Hardwood Environmental Profile (AHEP), and an interactive forest map that provides information on the volume, growth, and harvesting of forests around the United States. Together, these elements illustrate the dimensions of this resource and highlight which species are more abundant than others so as to help users make smarter environmental choices.


A timber podcast


The Words on Wood podcast is back online, with the new series focusing even more closely on wood and its production for architecture. The podcast offers a journey through different factories, and architecture and design studios, with each episode featuring interviews with important industry figures committed to doing their bit to contribute to telling the story of their industry.

The new season, the fourth, begins with a look at veneering. The episode, intended to encourage experimentation and open new horizons, is aimed in particular at the new generation of architects, designers, and manufacturers.

Another episode is dedicated to education and training, with a focus on what needs to be done to provide more in-depth understanding of the material in various educational pathways, particularly through giving a voice to educators. There’s also a new series of short episodes dedicated to production techniques.

More info:  www.americanhardwood.org


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All images courtesy of Ahec

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