News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Napier’s timber technology research hub

Very recently, Edinburgh Napier University announced that it will be investing £3 million into a new research hub that will support the construction of sustainable housing in the UK.

The University says that the facility will be open in the Spring 2017 and that it will work with the industry to “accelerate the development of a range of timber technologies.”

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Andy Leitch, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Timber Development Advisor, says the investment is very welcome and great news for Scotland’s £1 billion forestry industry:

“Scotland produces 63% of the UK timber resource and Scottish structural timber companies lead the way in the UK when it comes to innovation in timber construction.

“The new research hub at Napier will complement the new advanced facility developed by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, which is to be used to prototype manufacturing and performance of new timber products and systems.”

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The £3 million commitment by Edinburgh Napier University is a confidence booster for the industry – new research and development of timber technologies can open up new market opportunities.

The facility will also enable the sector to assess the characteristics of many tree species that are being considered for the future. Andy added: “It is essential that we are aware of the productive capability of tree species so that forest planners have all the correct information at hand before deciding on the most suitable species for their forest plans.

“It also means that these facilities will be available for the next generation of engineers to learn about the characteristics and performance of timber as a construction material.”

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Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) will continue to work with a large range of industry partners to commission work to improve the sector’s understanding of the characteristics and structural properties of tree species grown in the country. 

Much of this work is closely linked with on-going programmes carried out by Forest Research into tree breeding and timber properties. This co-ordinated approach ensures the best outcome for future markets and innovation.

Andy also added:  “Almost all of the work carried out at the Innovation hub will focus on increasing the use of wood products and systems in the construction sector. We need to deliver better energy efficient buildings which also lock up carbon for the lifetime of the building.

“Where practical, timber can also substitute other construction materials that have a greater higher embodied carbon than wood. This is important for tackling climate change.”