Illinois Architect Takes the LEED in Urban Wood Movement

Laureen-BlissardLaureen Blissard, technical director for the GreenBuilder Coalition and principal of LTLB Envirotecture of Naperville, IL, is a strong advocate of environmental sustainability, including urban wood utilization.

“I have only worked on a few urban wood projects from start to finish, but whenever an opportunity presents itself, I advocate for its use,” Blissard told the Urban Wood Network. “For example, when we are brought in at the beginning of a residential construction project and see the trees that need to be cleared from the property. Many times they are fully grown and great candidates for lumber. I also participate in speaking engagements to promote how architects can incorporate urban wood into a design.”

Blissard is a LEED-certified architect and has been active with the Illinois Wood Utilization Team. She said Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design has been a driver for incorporating urban wood in some building projects. “Those interested in LEED tend to focus on one point when it comes to wood — if it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as coming from a responsibly managed forest. If urban wood does not have FSC certification they won’t go for it. But urban wood can help a project pick up several points in other LEED categories, such as recycled materials, reclaimed materials, and locally manufactured and harvested resources. That last LEED characteristic of ‘local’ can be a key opportunity — especially now that LEED v4 reduces what is considered the local radius from 500 miles to 100 miles. Ultimately, the real challenge is figuring out how to fit urban wood into the LEED program and then working with people to get them past the misconception that if it is not FSC certified that it can’t qualify for points.”

Read the full interview with Laureen Blissard on UrbanWoodNetwork.org.


Urban Wood Conference Topics Go Full Circle

ILWUT_LogoA faculty of more than one dozen passionate and learned professionals, culled from all links of the urban wood supply chain, will share their knowledge and expertise at the inaugural Bringing the Urban Forest Full Circle Conference.

The conference, organized by the Illinois Wood Utilization Team (IL WUT), is set for Friday, March 18, 2016 at world famous Hamburger University on McDonald’s world wide corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, IL.

Edith Makra, chairperson of IL WUT, will kick off the conference with an overview of the growing but still largely untapped source of lumber and high-value wood products that could potentially be made from wood salvaged from end-of-life private and public community trees. Her presentation will set the stage for subsequent presentations that will highlight best practices for removing urban trees to optimize lumber recovery, strategies for successfully milling urban wood to manufacture salable products and marketing and retailing urban wood products that appeal to the burgeoning source local, buy local movement.

Invited presenters include urban wood proponents representing Milwaukee, WI; Ann Arbor, MI; and Chicago. In addition, case studies will illustrate real-world urban wood success stories, including i2i Design, a Chicago-area custom woodworking company that supplies displays, furniture and decorative millwork crafted from locally-sourced urban wood for the likes of Starbucks, Mariano’s and others.

The “greenness” of urban wood will be thoroughly explored in multiple presentations including by Laureen Blissard, a LEED certified architect, and Paul Pettigrew, who is teaching the next generation of architects and designers about the potential of urban wood for use in furniture, architectural details and other wood products.

Purdue University Prof. Daniel Cassens, a leading authority of North American hardwood lumber, will discuss urban wood’s place in hardwood markets. He will also conduct live portable sawmill demonstrations using logs felled at McDonald’s corporate campus. (Cassens will also present a full-day Hardwood Lumber & Sawmill Workshop, Thursday, March 17 at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook.)

The full-day event will also include plenty of networking, table-top displays by companies and groups invested in the urban wood market and an Urban Wood Products Showcase of furniture, artistic objects and other products crafted by students and professionals using urban wood.

View Conference Schedule & Details.

For more information, contact Rich Christianson, conference director, at richc.illinoisurbanwood@gmail.com or 773-822-6750.