Now with illustrations and case studies, the new Guide to Sustainable American Hardwoods shows specifiers the grades available and how they are sourced and selected
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has brought together its species and grading guides into a single Guide to Sustainable American Hardwoods, complete with illustrated case studies.
Its aim is to provide a publication that informs, educates and inspires and meets the needs of a broad audience, from timber traders, through specifiers to end-users.
'The idea was to retain the value of the previous technical guides as practical tools and, at the same time, make the new guide visual and engaging,' says AHEC marketing manager Lauren Smith.
'We wanted to bridge the disconnect between specifier and trade; to show specifiers how the timber is sourced and selected and traders some of the amazing projects using US hardwoods.'
The 100-page publication reflects on the environment and climate crisis with a focus on the sustainability and legality of the American hardwood resource.
It details the comprehensive legality risk assessment commissioned by AHEC, its American Hardwood Environmental Profile documentation (AHEP) and interactive map showing forest distribution, growth and timber removal.
'The map makes that real connection back to the forest,' says Smith. 'It shows the scale of the resource, but also that some species are more abundant than others, helping specifiers make smarter environmental choices. It’s about joining the dots.'
Each species section in the book gives the time taken by the forest to regrow a cubic metre, derived from AHEC’s online life cycle assessment tool.
Also included are technical performance data and case study applications of the timber.
These range from furniture in cherry, maple and red oak created for AHEC’s latest design project Connected and the ash cladding and furniture in the Hogeschool van Amsterdam in Holland to the 40,000m2 of red oak used for cladding, flooring and glulam screening in Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London.
Inline with AHEC’s emphasis on using the range of timber the forest provides to make the most sustainable use of the resource, the guide also covers lesser used varieties such as hickory, pecan, elm and basswood.
It looks, too, at thermal modification of US hardwoods and their use in engineered timber products. The grading section uses information from the National Hardwood Lumber Association.
'The main audience for this may be the timber trade, but we find designers and architects are interested in the topic because they want to understand the different specifications of timber available,' says Smith.