Green Oak as a Sustainable Building Material

EPA Grant Number: SU835729
Title: Green Oak as a Sustainable Building Material
Investigators: Shelton, Ted , Bennett, Richard M , French, Robert C. , Retherford, Jennifer , Stuth, Tricia , Taylor, Adam M
Institution: University of Tennessee - Knoxville
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: II
Project Period: October 1, 2014 through August 14, 2016 (Extended to July 31, 2017)
Project Amount: $90,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2014) Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Sustainability


The primary objectives in Phase II are:

  • To develop, detail, and construct a full-scale building using green oak pallet cants as structural members.
  • To monitor, record, and analyze the demonstration project for structural, acoustic, and thermal performance over a two-year period as the green oak members dry.
  • To disseminate our findings widely through multiple digital media platforms, peer reviewed publications, design award programs, and programs recognizing the integration of pedagogy and practice.


The objectives of Phase II will be explored through the design and construction of a full-scale demonstration project using green oak pallet cants as structural members. The demonstration project will be monitored for a period of two years during which time the green oak frame will fully dry. Monitoring will include frequent examination of joints for structural integrity, examination of interior details for acoustical performance, and examination of exterior details for thermal performance – all of which are challenged by the shrinking of the green oak structural members as they dry. Of secondary interest will be the performance of the untreated green oak siding cut from the cants. Weathering of the siding will be monitored visually and with moisture meters.

Expected Results:

The full-scale demonstration project will serve both to validate the findings in Phase I and as a critical built example that will facilitate adoption of green oak pallet cant technology by design professionals and building code officials.

Supplemental Keywords:

built environment, forest products, energy efficiency, embodied energy, housing, green design, environmentally benign substitute, conservation, design for the environment, green building, alternative construction material, architectural design

Relevant Websites:

Phase 1 Abstract
Phase 1 Final Report

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2015
  • 2016
  • Final

  • P3 Phase I:

    Green Oak as a Sustainable Building Material  | Final Report