Killing two birds with one tree

  • Contributed by state Department of Land and Natural Resources

    This artist’s rendering shows an accessory dwelling unit prototype utilizing locally-grown wood resources like albizia.

HONOLULU — The state has launched an online directory of players in the Hawaii wood and lumber industry, with the goal of connecting businesses involved with forest products and providing transparency in the industry.

The Hawaii Wood Products Directory online search engine is a product of the Hawaii Wood Utilization Team, a group of experts that operates under the umbrella of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

It’s not mandatory to sign up, but the goal is to have profiles of all Hawaii businesses within the industry on the database, so customers and businesses can connect.

“Through HWUT’s multiple-association membership directory, both consumers and cross-genre members will have tremendous access to the broader scope of resources within and surrounding our industry,” said John Heideman, team member and president of the Hawaii Lumber Products Association.

Not every business is in the directory yet, but at its launching HWUT said the directory contains hundreds of company profiles of those doing wood-related business. These include woodworkers, furniture- and cabinet-makers, forest owners, millwork manufacturers, architects, retail stores, consultants and contractors.

The directory is split into two searches — buyers and sellers — and then is further broken down by categories like lumber, compost, fencing, trusses and furniture. It’s extensive, covering everything from jewelry to milling.

A handful of Kauai businesses are already in the database as buyers and as sellers, like Kauai Forest to Function, DOFAW and Green Energy Team.

The directory doesn’t go into detail about how materials are sourced. Members list as much or as little as they’d like on their profiles.

HWUT has several other projects ongoing as well, one of them being the Albizia Project to build an accessory dwelling unit prototype out of the invasive albizia and other locally-sourced Kauai resources.

That project is under the direction of Joseph Valenti, HWUT director.

“We want to inspire and educate the design and construction industry with innovative and traditional applications for building with wood. These demonstrations aim to inform the community of the opportunities and advantages of utilizing our forest resources,” Valenti said.

The albizia ADU project is in the design phase, and DOFAW has started harvesting some plantation species for building this project at Kokee, Valenti said.

“These will include slash pine and eucalyptus saligna. This will be built on Oahu as the first demonstration, in early 2020. Once this project is completed, we will begin the design of the education center for the Mana Plain Wetlands, Kauai,” he said.

The goal of the project is to simultaneously address two major issues on Kauai and throughout the state — housing and invasive species. Using albizia to build these units helps make room for native forests, and the units can be used for housing.

“The goal of these projects is to demonstrate the potential of building with our underutilized forest resources. We anticipate producing more of these, and want to inspire others in the design and construction industry to use locally sourced materials,” Valenti said.

A federal grant keeps HWUT projects going. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Wood Innovations grant, meant to create new ways to use locally grown wood, reduce the risks of wildfires, analyze resource and market conditions for local woods, and increase the visibility and demand for Hawaii-grown wood products.

Check out the directory at hawaiiwoodproducts.com/.

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

1 Comments
  1. Kauaidoug September 2, 2019 8:38 am Reply

    Harvest and reduce albezia. A win win for small affordable size appropriate homes on Kaua’i. Do we need mcmansions here on this island?


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