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High Efficiency Production

Synergies: Species and Grade Selection; Reuse and Long Life; Net Carbon Accounting

Taking trees from forests and processing them into useful building components requires a wide range of tools and processes, each generating different levels of wood waste and CO2 emissions. As our tools and processes are refined, they can reduce waste and forest impacts by getting more of each tree into a long-lived wood product. Efficiency ratios are embedded in everything from saw kerfs to the big industrial machines that process and join small pieces of wood into large mass timber components. Ultimately, these efficiencies result in a specific percentage of wood material that makes it from the forest into a long-lived building, which is fundamental to wood’s carbon profile.

High Efficiency Production Examples

Nordic Structures Envirolam ProcessMass Plywood panels, Solar Kilns, Fossil-free freightWholeTrees Structures 

Sustainability Benefits

High efficiency wood products reduce carbon emissions associated with wood waste at all stages of the harvest and manufacturing process. Efficiency can also reduce pressure on forests and land use by delivering more usable structure (strength, utility, or volume) using fewer trees and less forest land area.


  • HEP wood components will work best, or exclusively, for certain components, layers and applications within a building system.

  • HEP may use chemical adhesives which may not be desirable in some applications (see #8).

  • HEP requires significant energy inputs, both for manufacturing and for factory setup, but may also significantly reduce energy inputs on the building site. Net carbon accounting via LCA can be used to assess the net benefit of HEP for a given application.

  • Sourcing strategies including certification, species selection, strategic geography, etc. may be limited by manufacturer’s supply chain. This may offset benefits and efficiency gains.


  • Due to the local focus of this pathway, it is well positioned to be verified by the buyer (2nd party verification). (See Verification Matrix)

How to Evaluate?

  • Level One: Tender uses specification language  encouraging contractors to use wood from HEP operations (ie. preferred selection criteria for operations that employ technology or sustainable practices) to minimize wood waste at the source.

  • Level Two: The use of HEP and the social, ecological, and economic benefits in public and/or private projects is promoted in city/project communications where appropriate. Build capacity and awareness of sustainable and climate outcomes of HEP.

  • Level Three: Use project experience to implement a medium/long term organizational/institutional strategy (e.g. Preferred Supplier Program) that works with stakeholders to develop a network of high efficiency wood product supply chains (with long-term stability to provide public and private consumers.


Example: Nordic Structures' Enviro-Lam Process makes it possible to retrieve and utilize more viable tree fibers than any other previous process.

Actions to Include Pathway 

  1. Create a Wood Needs Report that outlines the anticipated demands of the project.

  2. Create a matrix of high efficiency wood components that may be appropriate, quantities, sizes, anticipated price, etc.  Use the HEP resources in the Background Document to start the process.

  3. Work with architects/design team to design with “high efficiency wood components” in place of alternatives (use the matrix as a dynamic tool in the design process).

  4. Work with architects and design team to ensure new “high efficiency wood components” are designed with reuse as an end goal. Include several reuse scenarios for each major wood component as part of the design requirement.

Use in Policy Making

  1. Procurement policy requiring or incentivizing contractors to use technologically innovative wood products reducing wood waste at the source.

  2. Require climate declaration or Living Building certification for new public and/or private buildings (see resources).

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