Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wood Science and Technology

Committee Chair

David B DeVallance

Committee Co-Chair

M Paula Fitzgerald

Committee Member

Shawn T Greshecky

Committee Member

J Chris Haddox

Committee Member

Jingxin Wang


Decreased housing starts between 2005 and 2012 have caused decreased demand for wood-based products such as flooring, cabinetry, and moulding produced from Appalachian hardwoods. However, there may be opportunities to increase demand for these products as demand in the green building sector increases within the United States. Due to this increased demand in green building, wood product manufacturers are presented with an opportunity to further diversify their sales portfolios. The overall goal of this research was to identify wood product opportunities within the affordable and green building industries. Through surveying techniques and spatial analysis of existing commercial green building projects, opportunities have been identified to increase the use of wood products in the green building sector.;Survey results from builder respondents, in the affordable housing sector of the Appalachian region, have indicated a preference for following green building standards as well as the use of certified wood products (CWPs) in their construction projects. Respondents indicated a higher willingness-to-pay for local and certified wood products and that the environmental attributes of CWPs was the most indicated reason for their use. Additionally, respondents chose local retailers, websites, and magazines as the top media for marketing communications used to learn about new wood products.;Commercial LEED certified projects constructed between 2000 and 2013, which obtained the certified wood credit, were analyzed and determined to have an increasingly clustered growth pattern. This result indicated that new commercial LEED certified projects, that obtain the certified wood credit, will likely be located near these existing projects. Furthermore, statistically significant groupings of commercial green building projects, called Hot Spots (based on the number of projects in a given area), were found primarily near large urban areas. These Hot Spots may further indicate specific future markets for wood products manufacturers. The same analysis was used to analyze these projects in the Appalachian region. Results indicated two Hot Spot areas: Pittsburgh, PA and Greenville, SC.;Specifier perceptions of commercial LEED certified projects in the two Hot Spot areas indicated that respondents generally had a positive perception towards wood-based building materials and felt wood offers the environmental and physical attributes needed in green building practices. Specifiers also felt that the main barrier to wood use in commercial green building projects lie in the building type and building code restrictions. Additionally, respondents felt the green building market would continue to grow and were interested in increasing the use of structural wood-based products such as cross laminated timbers (CLTs).;Manufacturers in the Appalachian region also felt, in general, that the green building market would continue to grow but are doing little to specifically target this sector with their current marketing approaches either due to lack of interest in pursuing this market or lack of knowing the right people to approach. Also, manufacturers, in general, felt the environmental certification of wood products was unnecessary. The difference in perceptions of wood product certification differs from builder and specifier responses in this study and may indicate an opportunity for increase wood product sales. Additionally, manufacturers indicated low efforts, in general, toward marketing their products and placed little value on websites and ads in printed materials. Builders and specifiers however, often looked to these same media for marketing communications to learn about new and existing wood products.;Material specifiers for both affordable housing and commercial green building projects have indicated preferences for using certified wood products and prefer the environmental friendliness of the material when compared to alternative materials such as metal or concrete. These specifiers along with wood product manufacturers agree that the green building market will continue to grow. To meet the need and preferences of material specifiers, manufacturers interested in pursuing this growing market are encouraged to include the environmental attributes of their wood products. Adding technical data such as a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) will further substantiate the claim of lower environmental impact when compared to other materials. Additionally, manufactures are encouraged to supply marketing and promotional materials such as up-to-date websites, advertisements in trade magazines, and information to local retailers, as these are common media for marketing communications for specifiers to use when learning about new products.