ThinkWood recently dove into a new report on the use of prefabricated wood products in affordable housing from Minneapolis-based environmental nonprofit Dovetail Partners and New York City-based development firm Spiritos Properties. A collaborative effort of authors Kathryn Fernholz and Jeff Spiritos, the report examines the origins of the nation’s housing shortages, historical efforts to deliver more affordable housing over the past 100 years, and the new opportunities on the horizon to construct more affordable housing using efficient mass timber. As the report states, “the time is ripe to focus on the next best way to build affordable housing in the quantities demanded to provide decent housing and as a foundation for all other opportunities to spring from.”
Shying away from generalities, the report looks in depth at a case study for an affordable housing project in New Haven, Connecticut, showing that even though the materials cost of mass timber proved higher than competing materials, the speed and efficiency of construction, as well as savings realized by leaving timber walls and ceilings exposed, helped save money at other points in the construction cycle, reducing the premium and making it a viable option for building more affordable housing faster.
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