Technical Library

Wood Pole Technical Library

NAWPC is the recognized source for information on preservative-treated wood utility poles. The Wood Poles Technical Library offers a variety of publications detailing key information about preservative-treated wood utility poles and crossarms and their role in carrying electricity to communities across North America. To view or download a publication, click on the PDF icon. Please review the Disclaimer concerning this information.

General Information

ColorBook Electricity From Tree to Me
Coloring book for kindergarten to elementary age children explaining how wood poles are made and used to bring electricity to communities. Click here for information on how to order customized coloring books. NAWPC has developed a Teacher's Lesson Plan to accompany the book.
16 pages, 04/18
Wood Pole Guide App UPDATED! Wood Pole Guide smartphone app
App for smartphones and tablets that provides critical information needed to properly specify and use preservative-treated wood poles. Available for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones and tablets and can be dowloaded from the respective app stores.
Free app
PP_Checks & Splits NEW! Pole Principles - Checks and Splits in Wood Poles
Overview of checks and splits in wood utility poles, why they occur and how they typically have little impact on the structural or servicability of the pole.
2 pages, 06/23
PP_Preservatives Pole Principles - Preservatives for Wood Utility Poles
Basic information on the preservatives used in pressure treating wood poles today to protect against decay fungi and insects.
2 pages, 03/23
TB_Preservatives Technical Bulletin - Preservative Options for Wood Utility Poles
Detailed guide to the preservatives used in pressure treating wood poles today to protect against decay fungi and insects. Also reviews process for confirming effectiveness of preservatives in creating durable, long-lasting poles.
8 pages, 04/21
Technical Library Sources 10 Features About the Extraordinary Wood Pole
10 reasons why wood poles remain the top choice for utilities across the country.
2 pages, 05/14
Technical Library Sources Wood Crossarms: Six Overlooked Benefits
Key benefits of wood crossarms compared to alternatives based on a century of service and performance.
1 page, 09/18
ServiceLife Technical Bulletin - Estimated Service Life of Wood Poles
Overview of the actual service life of wood poles in use, which is often much longer than what is assumed by utilities and others.
8 pages, 12/21
PentaStatement Statement on Penta-Treated Wood Poles
Statement on the EPA Proposed Interim Decision (PID) to cancel and phase out the use of pentachlorophenol, or penta, used to treat wood utility poles and review of the EPA approvals and long history of performance and safety in use.
1 page, 03/21

Supply Sources

Pole_Sources North American Wood Pole Suppliers
Online directory of North American wood pole manufacturers, with sales contact information.
Crossarm_Sources North American Wood Crossarm Suppliers
Online directory of North American wood crossarm manufacturers, with sales contact information.

Engineering & Design

NatlStd National Wood Pole Standards Video Series
Three-part video presentation on wood pole standards in the NESC, reviewing the standards process, strengths, loads, groundline stresses, transverse loads and other technical data. Presented by ANSI O5 Committee Chairman Nelson Bingel.
Video, 04/20
O51 NEW! ANSI O5.1-2022 - Wood Poles, Specifications and Dimensions
FOR PURCHASE ONLY. The minimum specifications for the quality and dimensions of preservative-treated wood poles that are to be used as single-pole utility structures.
Buy for $60 at ANSI eStandards Store
O53 NEW! ANSI O5.3-2021 - Solid Sawn Wood Crossarms and Braces
FOR PURCHASE ONLY. Specifications covering solid sawn-wood crossarms and braces manufactured from coastal Douglas fir and Southern Pine. The specifications are intended to cover communications crossarms, power crossarms, heavy-duty crossarms, and heavy-duty braces.
Buy for $50 at ANSI eStandards Store
TB_Sustain NEW! Technical Bulletin - Sustainable Wood Pole Design for Overhead Systems
Review alternatives to sustainably improve overhead system resiliency without increasing pole sizes to classes that are more difficult and expensive to source. Includes examples for shortening spans between poles to utilize more sustainable and readily available wood pole sizes.
12 pages, 02/20
TB_Overload Technical Bulletin - Unique Overload Capacity of Wood Poles
Reviews how natural variations and recognition of such variations in the National Electric Safety Code allow wood poles to have a much greater overload capacity in extreme weather events compared to poles made from alternative materials.
8 pages, 10/19
TB_Design Technical Bulletin - Wood Pole Design Considerations
Explores the basics of wood pole design, including the structural criteria that must be considered in determining the proper wood pole for specified loading, wind, ice and other conditions under the National Electric Safety Code.
16 pages, 07/19
TB_Values Technical Bulletin - Wood Utility Pole Design Values in the NESC
Provides the fiber strength and Modulus of Elasticy (MOE) design values for all species used for wood poles in the U.S. The values are listed in the 2017 edition of ANSI O5.1 Wood Pole, Specifications and Dimensions.
4 pages, 09/18
Equiv Technical Bulletin - "Wood Equivalent" Poles and the NESC
Discussion of issues in marketing thin walled steel poles, prestressed concrete poles, and fiber-reinforced polymer poles as "wood equivalent." Includes details on how the NESC applies different strength and load factors for each material, which means there can be no true "wood equivalent" poles.
8 pages, 05/17
ANSI_Dim ANSI Dimensions for Wood Poles
Excel spreadsheet that calculates the minimum circumference of a wood pole 6 ft. from the butt, based on selection of species, class and length. Requires Excel 2007 or higher.
ZIP file (151KB), 03/14

Get this tool for your smartphone or tablet!
Download the free Wood Pole Guide app.
Pole_Weight Wood Pole Weight Estimator
Excel spreadsheet that calculates range of pole weights for shipping based on selection of species, class and length. Includes estimators for single poles and multiple pole selections. Requires Excel 2007 or higher.
ZIP file (115KB), 03/14

Get this tool for your smartphone or tablet!
Download the free Wood Pole Guide app.
SPReview Verification of ANSI O5.1 Southern Pine Wood Pole Strength Values
A 2014 research paper on research verifying published ANSI strength values for Southern Pine utility poles, confirming that poles with higher summerwood percentages are as strong as slower growing trees. Published in the 2014 AWPA Annual Meeting Proceedings.
12 pages, 06/15
JuvyWood Juvenile Wood Concerns in Southern Yellow Pine Poles
Statement addressing juvenile wood concerns and the impact on strength of treated Southern Yellow Pine poles.
1 page, 04/04

Environment & Wildlife

TB_Carbon NEW! Tech Bulletin - Calculating Carbon in Wood Utility Poles and Crossarms
Review of how to calculate the amount of carbon sequestered in a utility's inventory of wood utility poles and crossarms.The calculations take into account of the volume and mass of the wood, as well as the mass of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere while the wood is in service For use with Excel-based Wood Utility Pole & Crossarm Calculator available below.
8 pages, 07/20
CarbonCalc NEW! Wood Utility Pole & Crossarm Calculator
Excel spreadsheet that calculates the volume and mass of the wood, as well as the mass of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere for a utility's inventory of wood utility poles and crossarms. Includes links to online EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator that can convert carbon data into real world examples of the environmental benefits.
ZIP file (85KB), 07/20
PoleEnviro NEW! Technical Bulletin - Preserved Wood Utility Poles and the Environment
Overview of current studies on the amounts and minimal impacts of preservatives in wood utility poles migrating into the surrounding environment.
12 pages, 02/20
WhatsLCA What is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
Review of the elements needed for a proper, science-based life cycle assessment on products such as utility poles.
3 pages, 09/11
PoleLCA Summary Report on LCA of Penta-Treated Utility Poles
Conclusions and summary of an LCA on Penta-treated wood poles vs. steel and concrete.
6 pages, 03/12

Click to purchase full LCA report
PoleLCA2 Summary Report on LCA of CCA-Treated Utility Poles
Conclusions and summary of an LCA on CCA-treated wood poles vs. steel, concrete and fiber-reinforced composite poles.
6 pages, 03/13
Bird Technical Bulletin - Raptor Electrocutions and Distribution Pole Types
Review of pole material choices and design elements to mitigate raptor electrocutions, minimizing the potential fines levied by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.
20 pages, 10/00
Best Management Practices UPDATED! Specifiers Guide - Best Management Practices
Overview of the industry's Best Management Practices (BMP) program and guidelines for specifiers to ensure BMP-compliant preserved wood products are produced and installed in a manner which minimizes any potential for adverse impacts to aquatic environments.
16 pages, 12/17
Aqua Treated Wood in Aquatic Environments
Specification and environmental guide for selecting, installing and managing wood preservation systems in aquatic and wetland environments.
36 pages, 12/12
Impacts Carbon Impacts of Wood
A U.S. Forest Products Laboratory overview of calculating the carbon footprint of wood products.
4 pages, 01/13


PoleFire Performance of Utility Poles in Wildland Fires
Review of research on the performance of wood and steel utility poles in wildland fire hazard areas.
12 pages, 05/14
CRS Weather-Related Power Outages and System Resiliancy
Congressional Research Service report on weather-related outages, the economic cost of such outages and recommendations on minimizing power disruptions.
18 pages, 08/12
SteelFail Steel Poles Recalled After Failures
A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission order to recall steel poles used for stadium lighting due to 11 instances of failure.
4 pages, 07/10
Kentucky Hurricane Ike and Ice
Kentucky Public Service Commission report on impacts of a hurricane and the worst ice storm in state history on the power grid in the state.
178 pages, 11/09
Brunswick Case History: Brunswick EMC Pole Purchase
Review of the savings and benefits in choosing wood poles for upgrading a 5.2 miles distribution line in North Carolina.
4 pages, 03/98
BC Case History: Columbia Power Pole Purchase
Details on the significant cost savings of redesigning a line for wood poles instead of steel in British Columbia.
4 pages, 05/01


UG Technical Bulletin - Undergrounding: Hidden Lines, Hidden Costs
Overview of the costs and other challenges placing utility lines underground. Includes cost comparisions of underground lines vs. overhead systems with utility poles.
8 pages, 04/17
OSO2 Out of Sight, Out of Mind 2012
2012 update of Edison Electric Institute study of the costs of undergrounding overhead power lines.
71 pages, 01/13
OSO1 Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Original 2003-06 Edison Electric Institute study of the costs of undergrounding overhead power lines.
32 pages, 07/06
TBHardening Technical Bulletin - Hardening of Utility Lines: Implications for Utility Pole Design and Use
Despite calls for "hardening" utility systems in response to storms, qualitative evaluations indicate current sytems perform as expected and potential actions to harden the system are expensive and offer questionable benefits.
8 pages, 11/07
DirtRpt UPDATED! DIRT Report on striking underground utilities
Report from Common Ground Alliance on the 228,393 events in North America where underground utilities were struck or damaged during 2019.
68 pages, 10/22
Fla Florida Utilities Research: Undergrounding Electric Lines
Three-part report analyzing the costs of placing utility lines underground vs. the marginal benefits in protecting distribution systems.
Phase 1 - Literature Review and Analysis - 40 pages, 02/07
Phase 2 - Case Studies - 40 pages, 08/07
Phase 3 - Ex Ante Cost and Benefit Modeling - 97 pages, 05/08
Texas Cost-Benefit Analysis of Hardening Utility Lines
Report by Public Utility Commission of Texas analyzing costs and benefits of placing utility lines underground.
10 pages, 03/09
Mara Cost-Effectiveness of Undergrounding Utility Lines
Presentation by Kevin Mara, PE, of HiLine Engineering on the trends and economic costs in placing utility lines underground.
16 pages, 10/06

Maintenance & Disposal

PoleDisposal NEW! End of Service Life Disposal of Preserved Wood Utility Poles
Overview of options available today for disposing wood utility poles at the end of their service. Includes tables showing disposal regulations in all 50 states.
16 pages, 06/22
Pole_Insp Wood Pole Purchasing, Inspection and Maintenance
Reprint from the Forest Products Journal reviewing utility practices on purchasing, inspecting and maintaining treated wood poles.
8 pages, 11/02
WDisposal Management of Used Treated Wood - West
Synopsis of state disposal regulations for preserved wood products in the West.
6 pages, 02/10
PoleDisp Utility Solid Waste Guidelines for Treated Wood
Guidelines developed by an electical utilities group for use and management of treated wood waste.
7 pages, 07/02
End-of-Life Preserved Wood Management - A Case for Reuse for Energy
Summary of the energy and greenhouse gas ramifications of end-of-life management options for preserved wood products.
7 pages, 11/10