Mass Timber Accelerators in Atlanta and NYC Aim to Advance Low-Carbon Construction

With global deadlines for carbon reduction looming if we are to avoid triggering the worst-case scenarios for climate change, communities around the United States are looking at ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The built environment is responsible for 40% of annual GHG emissions globally, and with the world undergoing what the United Nations Population Fund calls “the largest wave of urban growth in history,” many major cities are enacting new policies and climate plans to chart paths toward a carbon-positive future. In the New York City and Atlanta metro areas—which Dodge Construction Data cites as the first ($10.8 billion) and third ($5.4 billion) ranked U.S. metros for commercial and multifamily construction starts in the first half of 2023—mass timber is the latest tool that they are turning to in this crusade.

Two new programs—each supported by a Wood Innovations Grant from the USDA Forest Service and matching funds from the Softwood Lumber Board—are aiming to encourage mass timber construction as a way to work toward decarbonizing future development. These regional accelerators—modeled after the 2022 prototype program in Boston—will award grants and technical support to select projects to promote sustainable design and construction and to support broader adoption of the material in the region.

Atlanta Mass Timber Accelerator

In Atlanta, the Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF) and its partners launched the Atlanta Mass Timber Accelerator as part of its Seedlings to Solutions campaign, which seeks to educate people about the cycle of sustainable forestry and the potential for mass timber as a circular economy in Georgia. The Accelerator will provide winning project teams with grants of up to $25,000 and technical assistance (provided by Think Wood partner organization WoodWorks) to help get their mass timber projects to pencil out. Architects, engineers, developers, and builders with mass timber projects in the Atlanta metro area can apply for the Accelerator program. Up to eight projects will be selected to participate, and projects must have a preliminary design and an interest in using mass timer. Winning projects will be selected by a diverse group of forestry, architecture, and mass timber experts, and complete life cycle analyses of embodied carbon as well as cost analyses for using mass timber over conventional construction will be conducted as part of the Accelerator program. Carbon and cost analyses will be shared with the broader mass timber community to encourage others to consider the material for their own projects.

Entries for the Atlanta Mass Timber Accelerator will be accepted until November 10, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.

If you have questions about the program, contact Nick DiLuzio at

The Kendeda Building
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design is a previously built mass timber project at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. | Photo Credit: Jonathan Hillyer

NYC Mass Timber Studio

In New York City, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC/EDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice (NYC/MOCEJ) and their partners launched the NYC Mass Timber Studio, a technical assistance program to support active mass timber projects in the early phases of planning and design. The Mass Timber Studio sees expanding the use of mass timber as “a critical component to achieving the city’s carbon reduction targets, including reducing embodied carbon emissions (those locked in place as soon as a building is constructed) for new buildings, infrastructure, and major retrofits by 50%”—a goal outlined in the 2023 version of PlaNYC, the climate action plan spearheaded by NYC/MOCEJ. The goals of the Studio include raising public awareness of the carbon and economic benefits of mass construction, identifying development opportunities for mass timber construction, and connecting design teams and city departments interested in advancing the use of the material. Like the Atlanta program, projects selected to participate in the Mass Timber Studio will receive grants of up to $25,000 to fund project-specific mass timber analysis and design work, including cost benefit assessments and life cycle analysis; findings will be made public to aid in future development. Technical assistance will be provided by WoodWorks.

Architects, engineers, and developers with an eligible commissioned commercial or multifamily mass timber project in design for a site within the five boroughs of New York City are invited to enter their projects for consideration through November 8, 2023.

Any questions about the NYC Mass Timber Studio can be directed to

Header Photo Credit: Neoscape | 619 Ponce, a boutique office building, is an example of mass timber construction in Atlanta.

Moynihan Connector Timber Bridge
The High Line–Moynihan Connector timber bridge is a previously built mass timber bridge in New York City. | Photo Credit: SOM
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