Blog

Feb 02 2016

Karuna II Cedar: A local, low-carbon siding solution

By KC Eisenberg



This new building at Fremont and N Williams in Portland stands like a sculptural sentinel over the rapidly changing neighborhood. It was designed to be memorable, but also to reflect the strong environmental values of its owners. 

When it came time to source a beautiful, long-lasting siding product with a minimal carbon footprint, the project managers called Sustainable Northwest Wood. We provided Western Red Cedar in a Select Tight Knot grade for the warm wood that sheaths this handsome building.

This cedar was harvested from a forest maintenance program less than 40 miles from the jobsite. The maintenance program uses super-selective logging designed to promote forest health. No, that's not greenwashing -- these cedar trees came from Camp Adams, a private church camp in Molalla whose forest is managed to FSC standards by Portland forestry firm Trout Mountain (see photo at bottom). This is no commercial logging operation: Trout Mountain manages the forest with the goal of keeping it healthy and whole, ensuring a diverse representation of species and ages.

By partnering with Sustainable Northwest Wood, the project developers were able to obtain this super-local, low-carbon siding and have it custom milled, kiln dried, and fire treated within weeks of ordering it. From harvest site to jobsite, including the additional processing and fire treatment, the wood traveled less than 100 miles. 

The selection of this wood also supported the work of seven local small businesses. This was an important factor for the developers, for whom social equity is important.

The project architects, from Portland firm Holst, say they are happy with the results. The cedar contributes warm colors that both the architects and the building's owner wanted. The design team also likes that the cedar is Select Tight Knot and not clear, which looks more real and "less plasticky" than clear cedar would look.

We're proud to have our Western Red Cedar showcased on this landmark building.

Read more about this building's innovative features in this New York Times article.

Karuna building photos by Linda Nagel. Forest photos by SparkTank.