Full Proposal

UW Campus Salvage Wood Program

Executive Summary:

UW Grounds Management and UW Facilities Construction (Facility Services) seeks $43,603.00 to obtain the necessary infrastructure to augment the salvage wood program which creates products from trees that are removed from the campus-wide landscape. By keeping the tree material on campus, money is saved in disposal cost, less energy is used in waste transportation, some of the asset value of the tree is retained by being incorporated into campus projects and the investment made into that tree over time is preserved, especially if the final product becomes a permanent feature on campus.

The University of Washington Seattle campus grounds management staff manages about 10,000 trees. At some point in time these trees will be removed as a result of natural decline or death, due to disease issues, as a preventative measure to avoid potential hazards, or as part of a construction/capital project. Grounds Management is charged with the task of protecting campus assets in the landscape. Campus trees are a significant asset in both actual value and investment over time. In 2008 the total annual benefits provided by tree on campus was valued at $736,385.00 and the total annual cost of those trees were $265,100.00. (Vale, Kava. 2011. University of Washington Seattle Campus Forest Resources Analysis. Master’s Project, University of Washington Botanic Gardens. Seattle Washington.) The net benefit in dollar value is then approximately half a million dollars, in which a portion is lost when a tree in cut up and removed from campus. Facilities Maintenance & Construction seeks to obtain and build infrastructure that increases the capacity and safety for staff to process tree material in ways that protect University assets and investments related to our campus trees. The salvage wood program is a collaborative partnership between Facility Services Grounds Management and Facilities Construction. The processed wood material will be used for student, faculty and administration projects, with opportunities available for the College of built Environments programs and the needs related to CPO& Facilities Construction projects.

As trees are removed from the campus landscape and are incorporated into campus-wide projects, the story of that tree (its narrative) will hopefully become part of the project narrative. Through education and outreach efforts, the perception of trees on campus and urban trees in general will change to reflect the understanding that they have value beyond their time in the ground. Outreach and education through partners in the College of Built Environments, School of Art, Art History, and Design, and the UW Botanical Garden and Arboretum will also create opportunities for telling the story of a tree beyond the day to day campus audience. From conference tables to outdoor structures, wood from campus trees one day could be found all throughout campus each with a story, a story of a tree that grew on campus and still lives there in a tangible way.

Student Involvement:

There are numerous ways that this project will connect with students. The project is currently being facilitated by a graduate student research assistant from the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. This student position, the Integrated Pest Management and Sustainability coordinator for Grounds Management, will develop the educational and outreach components of the program and also be responsible for record keeping, tracking costs, quantities and procedures related to this project. This student will be working with multiple partners (including other students) to facilitate students, staff, and faculty use of wood from the salvage wood program. The salvage wood program has already benefited the UW chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration by providing benches for the Whitman Walk restoration area and the Kinkaid Ravine (planned for 2015). With support from faculty from the College of Build Environments and interests from the School of Art, Art History, and Design, there will be numerous ways to outreach and involve students.

Education & Outreach:

As trees are removed from the campus landscape and are incorporated into campus-wide projects, the story of that tree (its narrative) will hopefully become part of the project narrative. Through education and outreach efforts, the perception of trees on campus and urban trees in general will change to reflect the understanding that they have value beyond their time in the ground. Outreach and education through partners in the College of Built Environments and the UW Botanical Garden and Arboretum will also create opportunities for telling the story of a tree beyond the day to day campus audience. From conference tables to outdoor structures, wood from campus trees one day could be found all throughout campus each with a story, a story of a tree that grew on campus and still lives there in a tangible way.

Grounds Management already features the Salvage Wood program on their website and at outreach events such as the Sustainability Summit in October and Earth Day in April. More attention will be given to this program once the augmented infrastructure and products are available to highlight. Any products created from this project could potentially be branded with the Campus Sustainability Fund logo creating a lasting outreach impact. This project presents a unique opportunity to create a long lasting outreach tool. When deemed appropriate, products from University trees could be branded (literally burned) with CSF logo or a novel brand specifically for this salvage wood program. Interpretive signs would explain the logo brand where the product is in permanent or long term location. Additionally when a tree of significance is scheduled for removal and that tree is a candidate for the salvage wood program, signs will be installed explaining that the tree, while gone from the ground, will live somewhere else on campus in another form.

Environmental Impact:
  • Waste
  • Other

Environmental Problem:

The University of Washington Seattle campus grounds management staff manages about 10,000 trees. Campus trees are a significant asset in both actual value and investment over time. At some point in time these trees will be removed. Currently, trees that are removed from the campus landscape are either chipped for use on campus or cut up, so it can be disposed of in a green waste container. Any tree material being disposed of in the green waste container represents a cost to the University without any benefit. The costs of this disposal system are both monetary and environmental: the university spends thousands of dollars annually on removal of campus tree material and purchasing lumber for projects. Transportation of these materials to and from Cedar Grove requires the use of fossil fuels and produces carbon emissions.

Facilities Maintenance & Construction seeks to obtain and build infrastructure that increases the capacity and safety for staff to process tree material in ways that protect University assets and investments related to our campus trees. This infrastructure will include a portable wood mill and the design and construction of a solar powered kiln for drying the lumber in order to make it usable for wood working products. A proper wood mill will create a safer working environment for staff than the current chainsaw mill. Also a two person team could process a log more efficiently. Having this machine could be the difference of a tree being sent to Cedar Grove or being kept on campus. The Facilities construction staff are just as constrained for time as most are so processing the logs with a wood mill is the “game changer” that could turn the salvage wood program into a bigger more integrated part of the campus.  The processed wood material will be used for student, faculty and administration projects, with opportunities for the College of built Environments programs and the needs related to CPO & Facilities Construction projects. These requested items compliment already purchased items of a wood chipper and chainsaw mill to process tree material on campus. Still, with both of these items, Grounds Management is sending 50% of the accumulated tree material off campus for disposal. Most of that material is usable wood, even diseased trees can be used if dried properly. The Gerberding Hall elm had succumb to the fatal Dutch elm disease but was used to make a conference table. By keeping the tree material on campus, money is saved in disposal cost, less energy is used in waste transportation, some of the asset value of the tree is retained by being incorporated into campus projects and the investments made into that tree over time is preserved, especially if the final product becomes a permanent feature on campus.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

Each tree that is a candidate for the salvage wood program has been tagged. This is our current tree inventory practice, and that tag will follow the usable wood/lumber derived from that tree, up until the final completed product. In that way, an inventory of products is created. We will be able to provide both quantitative (i.e. number of trees salvaged, projects produced) and qualitative data (i.e. species of trees, types of lumber, diversity of projects) about this project. The impacts can also be measured by counting the amount of lumber/wood milled and potentially differences in cost (as a proxy for volume) associated with Cedar Grove hauling of green waste, comparing before and after the implementation of an augmented salvage wood program.

Total amount requested from the CSF: $43,603
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:

Budget:

ItemCost per ItemQuantityTotal Cost
Wood Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic 35 HP Gasoline Hydraulic Sawmill (baseprice)34,995.00 134,995.00
Mill Additions: Waterproof engine and carriage cover 274.001274.00
Mill Additions: lube mizer system750.00 1750.00
Solar Kiln Materials1000.0011000.00
Solar Kiln Construction:Labor for Facilities Construction staff 80 hours at $68.56 per hour2742.0025484.00
interpretive signs 800.00 800.00
custom wood brand300.00 1300.00

Non-CSF Sources:

SourceAmount (dollars)Comments
Project Completion Total: $43,603

Timeline:

TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion DateComments
Purchase of Wood Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic 35 HP Gasoline Hydraulic Sawmill3-6 monthsSeptember 30 2015
Design and constrution of solar kiln6-12 monthsJanuary 31 2016Any wood cut will need to by air-dried prior to being processed in the kiln. This process can take anywhere from six weeks to 1.5 years depending on the thickness of cut and species of tree.
Operation of sawmillongoingOnce the saw mill is obtained the process of milling the tree into dimensional wood can begin. This is expected to be an ongoing process as existing trees that already in the inventory are milled, new trees are added. Currently the trees in the salvage wood inventory (20) are about 15 feet in length and range from 15-20 inches in diameter. To process the average tree currently in our inventory is estimated to take 2-3 hours with a staff of two.
Drying of woodongoingAny wood cut will need to by air-dried prior to being processed in the kiln. This process can take anywhere from six weeks to 1.5 years depending on the thickness of cut and species of tree. Air drying prior to being put in the solar kiln allows a more even drying process, reduces splitting and results in more wood being utilized.