US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

APA - The Engineered Wood Association

APA Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition

Building Homes. Building Community. Building Hope.

Habitat Providence is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building decent, affordable houses for low-income families and enhancing urban neighborhoods. Habitat Providence is a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, an organization that has built more than 500,000 houses in more than 100 countries worldwide. This is accomplished through the construction of simple, affordable, ownership houses – in partnership with families in need, volunteers, businesses, churches, community and charitable organizations, and government agencies – and by raising awareness of the need for adequate and affordable housing.

In the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition, the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and APA – The Engineered Wood Association (APA) are challenging designers to create a new model home design for Habitat Providence while considering the impact that building materials have on the environment.

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.

Design a Home with the Lowest Carbon Footprint and Win a Share of $10,000

FPL and APA are encouraging home designers to meet this environmental challenge by designing homes with wood for lower carbon footprints. $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winning entries, 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 Habitat for Humanity home design located in Providence, RI. Competition entries have been submitted and are currently being evaluated by a panle of jugdes.

Update: The winners of the Providence Carbon Challenge were announced on March 26, 2013 at an awards ceremony at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI. View the winning designs.

To learn more about the Carbon Challenge, read the press release.


Providence News & Updates

Free Carbon Challenge Workshops To Be Held In October

September 2013

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island-Greater Providence, 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 Providence Design Competition. Participants will learn:

  • 2013 Providence 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, infill lot.
  • How manufacturers are improving framing through product technologies.

Two Locations to Choose From

Providence, RI
October 22, 2013, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Providence Biltmore Hotel

Cambridge, MA
October 24, 2013, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Courtyard Boston Cambridge

  • Workshops are 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 Providence Carbon Challenge Design competition have been posted in the following galleries:


Providence Design Competition Winners Announced

March 2013

The ZeroEnergy Design team is presented with the Providence Carbon Challenge Grand Prize.During an awards ceremony March 26 at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, RI., several local architects were recognized as winners in the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition. Competition participants developed a Habitat for Humanity home design for a vacant lot at 24 Hannah St. 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:

  • Providence Carbon Challenge Design Competition Grand Prize WinnerGrand Prize ($5,000): ZeroEnergy Design, Boston (pictured)
  • 2nd Place ($2,500): Kyle Bamrick & Christopher Armstrong, Providence
  • 3rd Place ($1,000): Joseph P. Campanella -- Design Alliance, LLC, West Hartford
  • Best Use of Wood Products ($500): Anne Lissett & Benjamin Monroe -- LEAF Architecture, West Hartford
  • Best Curb Appeal ($500): Erik Rhodin & Taina Rhodin -- Line Company Architects, Waltham
  • Most Cost-Effective ($500): Christen M. Robbins -- Vision 3 Architects, Providence
Read more and view the winning designs.

Providence Design Competition Awards Ceremony to be Held on March 26

March 2013

Please join us for refreshments and recognition of the winners of the Providence 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 26, 2013 from 6-8 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel, Garden Room (2nd Floor) at 11 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 02903. Attendance is free, but advance registration is required. To RSVP, contact Nicole Mast at 504-309-8965 or nmast@arbmeetings.com.

Learn more about the Providence Awards Ceremony.


Carbon Challenge Registration Is Now Closed

February 2013

Registration for the Providence 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 Providence Carbon Challenge Design Requirements & Rules page.

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


Carbon Challenge Featured on the Rhode Show

January 2013

APA Senior Engineered Wood Specialist Bob Clark and winner of the Florida Carbon Challenge Design Competition Damon Roby joined host Meaghan Mooney on WPRI Channel 12's the Rhode Show on January 17th to discuss the Providence Carbon Challenge Design Competition.


Carbon Challenge Kicks Off in Providence

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 Habitat for Humanity Rhode Island—Greater Providence officially kicked off the Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition with a January 17 kickoff party at the Roots Cultural Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The competition challenges architects to design a Habitat house for a vacant lot in Providence’s Olneyville neighborhood while considering the greenhouse gas emissions of the construction materials. (Pictured above: 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.)

APA has a long history of working with Habitat for Humanity International,” said APA senior engineered wood specialist Bob Clark. “We knew that it would make sense to partner with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate for the next Carbon Challenge. Hence, we are challenging designers to create a Habitat for Humanity house design while being mindful of the impact that building materials have on the environment.”

Read the full story.


Providence Competition Kick-Off Celebration to be Held on January 17

The Carbon Challenge Providence Design Competition will begin with a Kick-off Celebration on January 17, 2013 at the Roots Cultural Center at 276 Westminster Street (Providence, RI 02903). Tours to the competition site will depart from the Roots Cultural Center from 3-4 p.m., followed by the celebration back at Roots 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 Hannah St.) 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 18 (following the Kick-Off Celebration).

RSVP Today!

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

Download a PDF invitation to the Kick-Off Celebration.


Providence Program Partners & Sponsors

December 2012

US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory
LP Building 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.


Providence 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


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.


Providence Program Partners & Sponsors

US Forest Service, FPL
APA
Boise Cascade LLC
LP Building Products
AIA Rhode Island
Habitat for Humanity of Rhode Island – Greater Providence, Inc.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Bob Clark.


Follow the Carbon Callenge on Facebook


Follow the Carbon Challenge on Facebook

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.