US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

APA - The Engineered Wood Association

APA Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition

Revitalizing Baltimore Neighborhoods

In partnership with the City of Baltimore, the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and APA – The Engineered Wood Association (APA) challenged designers to create a new urban row house design while considering the impact that building materials have on the environment.The Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition was held in the spring of 2013 and over $10,000 in cash prizes was award to the winning designs, determined by their global warming potential score (based on a scientific life-cycle assessment), cost-effectiveness, and adherence to the architectural design criteria for a new urban row house located in Baltimore, MD.

Fossil fuel use and climate change are important environmental issues facing our nation today. The common denominator for these concerns is greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere when fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, are burned for energy or when organic materials decay. While most people are aware that North American forests help to address climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, less well known is the fact that wood products continue to store carbon, thus keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely. Substituting wood products for fossil fuel-intensive alternatives also results in significant amounts of “avoided” greenhouse gas emissions.

The Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition is also part of the USDA Forest Service’s vision for helping Baltimore rebuild and revitalize distressed neighborhoods in ways that utilize wood resources, increase green infrastructure, and spur local jobs and enterprise. To learn more about the Carbon Challenge, read the press release.


Baltimore News & Updates

Free Carbon Challenge Workshop To Be Held In October

September 2013

In partnership with the City of Baltimore, the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Lab and APA are hosting Wood Framing for More Sustainable, Efficient Homes, a four-hour workshop devoted to educating architects, engineers, builders, and code officials about the sustainable benefits of wood construction and advanced framing techniques. The session will draw upon examples and best practices from this year’s Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition. Participants will learn:

  • 2013 Baltimore Carbon Challenge Residential Design Competition - 2nd PlaceHow to use wood framing to reduce a building’s carbon footprint.
  • How to incorporate advanced framing techniques to optimize material efficiency, increase whole-wall R-values, and reduce thermal bridging.
  • How to implement efficiency-boosting details such as energy-efficient corners, tees, headers, and more.
  • How the Carbon Challenge winners accomplished design, affordability, and sustainability while transforming a vacant, urban space.
  • How manufacturers are improving framing through product technologies.

Baltimore Workshop to be Held on October 10

  • October 10, 2013, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton BWI Airport
  • Workshop if free with advanced registration
  • Earn three AIA Credits (HSW) or four Professional Development Hours / CEUs
  • Breakfast and light refreshments provided

RSVP today

Attendance is free, but advance registration is required! To RSVP, contact Nicole Mast at 504-309-8965 or nmast@arbmeetings.com.

View a printable PDF of the Carbon Challenge Workshop invitation.


Carbon Challenge Photos Posted

April 2013

Photos from the Baltimore Carbon Challenge Design competition have been posted in the following galleries:


Baltimore Design Competition Winners Announced

March 2013

The winners of the Baltimore Carbon Challenge at the awards ceremony, March 28 at Humanim at the American Brewery in Baltimore, MD.During an awards ceremony March 28 at Humanim at the American Brewery in Baltimore, MD, several local architects were recognized as winners in the Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition. Competition participants developed an urban row house for the 1500 block of Bethel St. in Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood. With the help of life-cycle assessment software from the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, designers determined the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions from the products in their design. Along with each entry’s carbon footprint, the judges considered its use of wood, its cost-effectiveness, and its aesthetic. Cash prizes totaling $10,000 were awarded to the winners across multiple categories:

  • Baltimore Carbon Challenge Design Competition Grand Prize WinnerGrand Prize ($5,000): Phillip Jones -- Cho Benn Holback + Associates, Baltimore (pictured)
  • 2nd Place ($2,500): Alexander Dzurec -- autotroph, Huntington
  • 3rd Place ($1,000): Drew Suljak, Kelly Krob, & David Lopez -- studioRED / hord | coplan | macht, Baltimore
  • Best Use of Wood Products ($500): Chris Melander & Ross Smith -- RTKL Associates Inc., Baltimore
  • Best Curb Appeal ($500): Randy M. Sovich & Jojo Duah -- RM Sovich Architecture, Baltimore
  • Most Cost-Effective ($500): Jay Orr -- ARQ Architects, Baltimore
  • Special Judges Award: Best Social Statement: Lisa M. Ferretto & Kallie Sternburgh -- hord | coplan | macht, Baltimore; Janice Romanosky -- Pando Alliance, Millersville; & Prescott Gaylord – Entellis Collaborative/Hamel Builders, Elkridge

Read more and view the winning designs.


Baltimore Design Competition Awards Ceremony to be Held on March 28

March 2013

Please join us for refreshments and recognition of the winners of the Baltimore Carbon Challenge. Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. The competition winners will be announced and $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists and the winners of three design categories: Best Use of Wood Products, Best Curb Appeal, and Most Cost-Effective Design. All of the award-winning designs will be on display.

The event will take place on March 28, 2013 from 4-6 p.m. at Humanim at the American Brewery (2nd Floor Events Room) at 1701 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21213. Attendance is free, but advance registration is required. To RSVP, contact Anne Michaels at 504-309-8965 or amichaels@arbmeetings.com.

Learn more about the Baltimore Awards Ceremony.


Carbon Challenge Registration Is Now Closed

February 2013

Registration for the Baltimore Carbon Challenge Design Competition is now closed. Entry submittals are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on March 4, 2013. For more information, visit the Baltimore Carbon Challenge Design Requirements & Rules page.

Please visit this website again soon for additional announcements about upcoming Baltimore Carbon Challenge activities and events.


Mayor, USDA Under Secretary Help Launch Baltimore Carbon Challenge

January 2013

Ed Wojcik, owner of Ed Wojcik Architect Ltd., discusses the Carbon Challenge at the Providence design site. To the right is the Carbon Challenge Florida Design Competition winner Damon Roby.The U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory, APA-The Engineered Wood Association, and the City of Baltimore officially launched the Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition with a January 15 press conference for the local media and neighborhood representatives and a kick-off event for designers and architects. Speakers at the events included Harris Sherman, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. (Pictured above: Sherman and Rawlings-Blake, along with APA Senior Engineered Wood Specialist Robert Clark, address the media at the Baltimore Carbon Challenge design site.)

The Carbon Challenge Design Competition challenges architects to transform a vacant lot in Baltimore’s Oliver neighborhood by designing a series of iconic row houses that consider the environmental footprint of the construction materials.

Read the full story.


Baltimore Competition Kick-Off Celebration to be Held on January 15

January 2013

The Carbon Challenge Baltimore Design Competition will begin with a Kick-off Celebration on January 15, 2013 at Humanim at the American Brewery (1701 N. Gay Street, Baltimore). Tours to the competition site will depart from Humanim from 3-4 p.m., followed by the celebration back at Humanim from 4-6 p.m. Attend the Kick-off Celebration to:

  • Find out how to enter the Carbon Challenge and see the actual site of the design competition (a vacant site on N. Bethel St. in Baltimore City) and the surrounding community.
  • Learn about designing a more environmentally friendly home with a lower carbon footprint.
  • Enjoy a festive, fun event for builders and designers featuring live music, great food, giveaways, beer and wine.
Complete competition rules and design requirements will be posted on this website on January 16 (following the Kick-Off Celebration).

RSVP Today!

Attendance is free, but advance registration is required. To RSVP, contact Anne Michaels at 504-309-8965 or amichaels@arbmeetings.com.

Download a PDF invitation to the Kick-Off Celebration.


Baltimore Program Partners & Sponsors

December 2012

US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory
LP Building Products
Roseburg Forest Products


Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Bob Clark

About the FPL
The US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) was established in 1910 to conduct research and technology transfer to improve the utilization of our forest resource.

About APA
Founded in 1933, APA - The Engineered Wood Association is a nonprofit trade association serving the wood structural panel and engineered wood products industries. Its primary functions include quality auditing and testing, applied research and market development.


Baltimore Carbon Challenge Leadership Team


Bob Clark, Senior Engineered Wood Specialist
APA-The Engineered Wood Association
Dundee, MI

Karen Martinson, Program Specialist
USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory
Madison, WI

J. Morgan Grove, Research Scientist and Team Leader
USDA Forest Service, Baltimore Field Station
Baltimore, MD

Elizabeth Larry, National Coordinator for Urban Research
USDA Forest Service
Washington, DC

Alice Kennedy
Baltimore Office of Sustainability
Baltimore, MD

Martin Yoklic, Research Scientist
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ


About the Carbon Challenge

Through local design competitions and educational seminars, FPL and APA are challenging designers and builders to rethink their perceptions of construction materials and produce homes that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

About FPL
The US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) was established in 1910 to conduct research and technology transfer to improve the utilization of our forest resource.

About APA
Founded in 1933, APA - The Engineered Wood Association provides quality auditing and testing, applied research, and market development for wood structural panel and engineered wood products.


Baltimore Program Partners & Sponsors

US Forest Service, FPL
APA
Boise Cascade LLC
LP Building Products
Roseburg Forest Products
AIA Baltimore

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Bob Clark.


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Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Floor Systems

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Floor Systems, L400

This APA fact sheet summarizes a life-cycle assessment of two alternative floor systems: wood and concrete slab-on-grade. Free download in PDF format.


Advanced Framing Construction Guide


Advanced Framing Construction Guide, Form M400

This free publication from APA details techniques for more efficient, cost-effective framing practices.