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 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