Green Giant: Bank of America Tower, Manhattan

Channel Lumber is committed to the process of Green Building, and supporting LEED certification. Today we want to showcase a cutting edge Green skyscraper and highlight the latest Green design and amenity features.

In 2009, construction of the Bank of America Tower, in Manhattan, was completed. The building earned a LEED Platinum rating, the highest awarded. The rating is based on various environmental considerations. The design earns “points” for various energy saving and environmentally beneficial features. The cost of construction was One Billion USD. It is the fourth tallest building in Manhattan.

The design teams for the tower had one directive: to demonstrate that economic and environmental principles are compatible. When Green features added to the cost of construction, only those features which would pay for themselves within 5 years were included.

There were many other areas where the tower scored well including site selection (near public transportation), building form, and energy conservation.

The towers’ sloped form has two primary benefits. First, it allows more natural light to penetrate the building. 90% of workers have floor to ceiling windows which can be fully lit with natural light. Second, the sloped form allows for the efficient capture of rainwater, which can then be used in a variety of ways.

The Bank of America tower has an onsite natural gas power plant which generates 70% of the buildings electricity consumption, and 30% peak hour consumption. This eliminates electrical transmission losses which are significant on the city’s power grid.

The power plant makes ice at night which is used to cool the building in the day. Additionally the waterless urinals save up to 8 million gallons of water annually.

Channel Lumber has an extensive list of Green Projects and clients including the Aria Resort and Casino, Veer Towers, and the Portola Valley Town Center.

For more information on Channel Lumber products and services, please contact us.

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Channel Lumber Custom Lumber Shop: Corbels

In architecture a corbel is a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a superincumbent weight, a type of bracket.

Stone corbels - Channel Lumber

An example of an ornate stone corbel on a building

You see corbels throughout San Francisco, and they are very common on Victorian homes. Many corbels on homes are made of wood, and as such are prone to rot over time. The corbels often have unique shapes, and we copy the shape to replace rotten corbels, and match any remaining corbels on the building.

Profile of a corbel

Close up of antique corbel.

Custom corbels are made according to the following steps:

  1. Wood of the proper thickness is chosen, or wood is laminated to achieve the desired thickness.
  2. The wood is run on the joiner, cleaning up and making smooth surfaces.
  3. The wood is chopped to length with a miter saw, giving two clean working ends.
  4. The wood is then run through the thickness planer bringing to the proper dimension.
  5. The outline of the old corbel is then traced onto the wood.
  6. The outline is cut with a bandsaw.
  7. The new corbel is sanded and painted as needed.
Rough hewn corbel - Channel Lumber

Close up of a corbel after being cut to shape with the band saw.

At Channel Lumber, we handle a wide variety of custom wood projects in our shop. For more information, please contact us.

Turn It Up to Ten

Concrete Forms for Level 10 Sunnyvale projects.

Level 10 is a leading construction company based in Northern California. Channel Lumber has partnered with Level 10 on numerous projects, primarily through concrete forming materials.

Level 10 recently completed several high profile award winning projects including the new Facebook Campus (MPK 20) and 181 Fremont, now the tallest skyscraper on the San Francisco skyline.

Currently, Level 10 is working with the Jay Paul Company on two sites in Sunnyvale, the Moffet Gateway and Moffet Place Campus. These projects are unique in that they are not being built for a specific company. Both of these projects were designed and developed to be put on the market for sale after completion.

The Moffet Gateway, completed in 2016,  features two seven story buildings, with a parking structure, roof-top garden and lounge. The Moffet Place Campus is a 1.9 million-sq-ft. Class “A” office campus. The campus will also feature an event center, several parking structures, and other modern amenities. The project has a completion date of April 2020.

In keeping with Channel Lumbers high standards for Green Building, both the Moffet properties are targeted for LEED® Platinum sustainability, the highest level awarded.

Please contact Channel Lumber for more information about products, services and Green Building.

Earth Day 2018

View of Earth from SpaceEarth Day is a Global event which will be held on April 22 of this year. The campaign and focus for this years’ Earth Day is “A World Without Plastic Pollution”.

Over the past several decades, plastic pollution on our planet has grown exponentially. As a result, Earth Day is committed to fundamentally changing human attitudes and behaviors about plastics, and to sparking a drastic reduction in plastic pollution globally.

Plastic Pollution is pervasive at all levels in nature and within our infrastructure. We have all seen pictures of plastic bottles in nature, etc. but this is just the tip of the iceberg. As plastics decompose, they become smaller and smaller bits of pollution eventually so small they can not be seen and are very difficult to contain. Eventually these particles make it into our tap water system. A recent study showed that 94% of American tap water contained plastic pollutants.

The Earth Day Campaign will be an all out attempt to build a Global framework of plastic pollutant reduction with a vertical approach, from grassroots education, school system outreach, advertising, encouraging more reports in the news, and reaching out to our Global Leaders to take an aggressive stand on the issue.

You can track your own plastic pollutant footprint and learn how to make changes using the Earth Day End Plastic Pollution Kit.

For more information and to get involved please visit the Earth Day website.

Channel Lumber is a leader in Green Building. For more information about our green projects, please contact us.

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Today is International Day of Forests

forestInternational Day of Forests is celebrated on 21 March each year. It was established in 2013 by the United Nations, and the week long symposium and celebration is hosted by a different country each year. The theme for this years’ International Day of Forests (IDF) is “Forests and Sustainable Cities”.

The slogan for this year’s’ celebration is “Let’s make our cities greener, happier, healthier places to live.” There is comprehensive list of topics on the IDF website, and among the primary messages are that trees contribute to a host of benefits in an urban setting. These include that forests store carbon and help to mitigate climate change. Trees can be used to cool air, thus decreasing the need for air-conditioning and power consumption. Lastly that green urban spaces contribute to more healthy active lifestyles.

It is estimated that deforestation contributes to 10-20% of climate change related problems. Each year the world loses 13 million hectares of forests, approximately the size of England.

The concept for IDF started casually at Oxford, England, when two professors agreed that the consequences of deforestation especially as it relates to climate change was being grossly underestimated. Over the next several years, with support of the United Nations, the IDF was founded and continues to be a source of education, awareness and action around protecting and developing forestry around the world.

Sustainable forestry is, and will always be, one of our driving missions at Channel Lumber.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar

sail boat - channel lumberTransformational Sailing is an organization which helps Veterans and others with stress related disorders find relaxation through sailing. Their motto reads “The Power of Healing Through Wind, Sea, and Sky”. The organization is also involved in boat building for which Channel Lumber recently donated Alaskan Yellow Cedar.

Sailing is an activity which can provide a climate for community building, safe communication, working as a team and relying on others, to name just a few of the benefits. For veterans who have become disconnected through war related trauma, Transformational Sailing offers participants a chance to recover a normal, healthy lifestyle, and relate to others with similar experiences.

The Transformational Sailing website features several videos where the participants are asked what the highlight of their day was. Gerry, a former WWII captain answers “getting the feel of the helm again. It’s good to get back on the wheel”. Jason, another Veteran, simply answers “To feel human again. To get to be just like everybody else.” The testimonials are heartfelt and powerful.  They communicate what a needed and transformational experience these sailing voyages provide.

The sailing trips are typically about three hours throughout the Bay. Newcomers often just sit and enjoy the adventure, but over time participants learn sailing skills, and have progressively hands on experiences including manning the helm.

To find out how to get involved and or make a donation please visit the Transformational Sailing Website.

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Channel Lumber is Friends with the Napa River

napa river

Friends of Napa River (FONR) is a community organization whose mission is to “be the community’s voice for the protection, restoration, responsible development and celebration of the Napa River and its watershed through education and advocacy.”

The organization recently hosted the “Living River Celebration” event at the Westin in Napa to honor the elected officials who have supported FONR, and specifically the Oxbow Bypass Flood Channel project. Channel Lumber has been a long-standing supporter of FONR, and was a donor for the event.

Historically, the Napa River is prone to flooding. In downtown Napa, the river makes a hairpin turn and when water levels are high, the river naturally floods into a straight line. This causes damage to infrastructure, and has prevented the downtown from being developed as insurance companies would not cover flood damage in the area.

Twenty years ago, the Army Corp of Engineers proposed a cement channel to redirect the river in downtown Napa. The residents of Napa did not like the aesthetic of the channel, and subsequently the “Living River Plan” was created. The plan involved buying land along the river, removing infrastructure and toxic soil. It also included a more appealing Oxbow Bypass, which eventually became a park and trail network along the river known as the Oxbow Commons.

The community voted to fund the project with a small sales tax. The tax along with matching grant funds and private donations has paid for the Living River Plan so far. The strategy has been successful with the ecosystem being restored, animals returning, and development in downtown Napa. There are still more phases of the plan to be completed and FONR is actively working with the community and government to fulfill the vision of the Living River Plan. Please visit the Friends of Napa River website for more information.

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Net Zero Energy Library in Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is building a new 22,000 square foot library with Channel Lumber providing products and services throughout all phases of construction. The library will be a Net Zero Energy (NZE) Building, with LEED® Silver of better certification. The project is in partnership with BHM Construction.

Side of building

A look at the siding as it is placed.

In addition to a book depository, the new facility will focus on multi-use areas for meetings, events, and internet connectivity.

construction site

A view of the second story, which will be enclosed in glass.

construction site

The unfinished walls for both stories with be finished with glass.

The contemporary design will feature teen literacy facilities, a children’s learning area, an atrium and rooftop deck.

side of building

The wood siding is nearly complete.

two buildings

A new perceptive of the grounds.

building construction

Close up of one of the facilities nearing completion.

Channel Lumber is proud to support this new library and its commitment to achieving the highest Green Building standards both during constructions and as a functioning facility.

Please contact us for more information on our services and products.

Photo Credit: Channel Lumber

Making the Grade

Because wood is an organic product, a wide variety of factors can affect the usability, structure, look, and strength of a given harvest. Even within a species of tree, great variations can exist. This is why lumber grading exists. Lumber grading is the process of assessing the quality and characteristic of the lumber. This way both the producer of the dimensional lumber and the builder can agree on what the product is and how it can be used.

To insure the highest level of consumer trust, and professional consistency, Channel Lumber employs the West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau (WCLIB) to inspect and randomly pull grades to insure that Channel Lumber is shipping ongrade products.

What are the specific grades for lumber? This is a complex question, given the different species of lumber, and the diverse milled products on the market, but let’s try to simplify. Hardwoods and softwoods have different rating system. We will only be talking about softwoods here, as these are most common in general construction.

The rules for grading softwood are written by the American Lumber Standard Committee. The rules vary regionally to address local conditions of logging, etc. Softwoods are generally graded into three categories:

  • Appearance (wood that will be seen, like flooring and siding).
  • Factory and Shop Grades (wood for remanufactured products like doors, and window frames).
  • Structural (graded from strength. Appearance is secondary or non-consideration).

For more information about our mill work, products or services, please contact us.

Evolution of the Sawmill

Old time sawmillThe earliest type of sawmill, or lumbermill,  was the sawpit. The sawpit was a pit overwhich the log was positioned and held in place by saddleblocks. The “top” sawyer would balance himself atop the log, and guide the blade for accuracy. This required strength, stamina, and skill. The “bottom” sawyer worked in the pit below, primarily providing muscle. The pit was often a basin of water, and the pit sawyer had to battle a constant downpour of sawdust. The two men used a two handled “whipsaw” to rip the lumber. Using this system the team could produce roughly a dozen boards per day. This was tough, demanding work. Sawpits were integral to early ship building.

As early as the 3rd century AD, the water powered mill was invented, and was widely used up until the industrial revolution. The water powered mill operated essentially the same way as a modern mill with respect that uncut lumber enters at one end and cut/dimensional lumber exits at the other end. The watermill used basic crank and connecting rod technology. As the watermill evolved, eventually water was also used to float the timber into position, thus alleviating the need for intensive manual labor to handle the timber. Windmill sawmills were also prevalent during this time period, and used the same connecting rod technology, simply substituting wind power for the water wheel.

With the arrival of the industrial revolution, several advancements were made, First, the circular saw had been invented. The greatly increased the speed of production, while decreasing maintenance needs. The second improvement was the introduction of the steam engine. This had several impacts. First, because of steam engine trains, lumber could be easily transported in larger quantities. Previous to the train, mills had to be built near rivers or lakes, which were the primary means of transporting heavy timber. With the train, sawmills could be built on site, wherever they were needed. An added advantage was that timber by-products, sawdust, branches unusable timber, etc. could be used to fuel boilers and kilns.

Today, sawmills have advanced to become highly efficient, computer controlled machines. The saws themselves are similar to their predecessors, with faster,  better components. Now when log arrives at the mill, it is analyzed by lasers which tell the machinery which types of cuts will provide the most yield. Furthermore, 100% of the wood fiber is used. The sawdust, chips for the kiln, bark for much, and miscellaneous pieces for paper, or composite forest products.

For more information on Channel Lumber millwork, or other products and services, please contact us.

Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis