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Mass timber to make Vancouver schools more earthquake resistant

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Canada supports innovation in the forest sector through the green construction of low-rise non-residential wood buildings. Mass timber use in public buildings, such as schools, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, promotes innovation and supports local value-added manufacturing.
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced a $1,482,000 investment in British Columbia’s Vancouver School Board District #39. This investment will enable the construction of two local schools as part of recent seismic upgrades to make B.C. schools safer.
Bayview Elementary School and Sir Mathew Begbie Elementary School are part of a Vancouver School Board pilot project for future mass timber schools. The original structure of Bayview Elementary School was demolished, making way for a new school to be built over the existing footprint with a greater resistance against earthquakes. The building consists of two-storeys of classrooms and teaching areas, as well as a gymnasium and Neighbourhood Learning Centre.
Sir Mathew Begbie Elementary School will be a completely new, 34,000-square-foot modern design with open learning spaces. With the use of mass timber as the primary building material, the total carbon benefit is approximately 1,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing hundreds of cars from the road for a year.
Funding for the project is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) Program, which encourages the use of wood in non-traditional construction projects, such as tall wood buildings, low-rise non-residential buildings and bridges. The program aims to position Canada as a world leader in innovative wood construction technologies and the low-carbon economy.
Projects like this help Canada achieve its 2030 climate change goals by finding effective ways of building sustainably using Canadian wood products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving seismic performance.
“Wood is being used more and more in building bigger and taller buildings, and we’re leading the world at it. Creating new markets for Canadian timber supports our forestry workers, creates jobs and gets us to net-zero,” O’Regan Jr. said during the announcement. 

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