With the recent release of the CORRIM II Phase I research results, a rare opportunity exists to compare and contrast the wood products industry's process advancements with that of the original CORRIM study completed three decades ago. This technical review, explores the continued innovation in wood product processing technologies over the last 30 years to gauge how these advancements have served to underscore and demonstrate the environmental benefits of the industry's products in their traditional Use-home building. The paper focuses on three wood products common to both studies-softwood lumber, sheathing plywood, and oriented strandboard (OSB)-and compares advances in primary wood product production in terms of wood utilization, forest-to-mill gate energy use, and thermal process energy self-sufficiency. Results of this study indicate a marked improvement in wood usage by the softwood lumber industry, while both plywood and OSB have stayed steady despite declining log size and resource quality. Finally, this review puts the last 30 years of advancements in wood product production in perspective by comparing the varying resource and energy use associated with the major structural wood components in a typical single-family home built in North America. Applied across all single-family homes built in the United States, the industry's greater resource utilization, improved energy efficiency, and declining reliance on fossil fuels result in an annual savings of about 10 million barrels of oil, 4.4 million metric tons (9,700 million lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, and a reduced harvesting level equivalent to 15,000 ha (37,066 acres) of forest.
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