After months of work, the Hardwood Federation successfully achieved green recognition for wood from Congress through the passage of House and Senate resolutions (in 2009 and 2010, respectively). Those resolutions specifically acknowledged that the American hardwood industry sustainably manages an environmentally preferable natural resource and that hardwoods should not be discriminated against in government procurement programs.
After many more months of work and negotiation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we’re pleased to report that the Obama Administration has also agreed on the merits of wood as a green building material.
The industry has long complained that wood and wood-based products are not given appropriate credit for their renewable and environmentally-friendly qualities in green building design and construction.
Today, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his agency is embracing wood as a green building material and will immediately begin stating a preference for wood in all agency buildings.
“Wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials,” Secretary Vilsack said in a statement.
Pointing to a recently completed U.S. Forest Service life cycle analysis that showed using wood yielded lower air emissions, including greenhouse gases, than other traditional building materials, Vilsack asked the USFS to suggest ways to enhance research and development projects on green building materials.
The Secretary also said his agency will immediately begin looking for demonstration projects highlighting wood use in non-residential structures, and we ask for your help in identifying these projects – and potential R&D projects as well.
“This has been a hard-fought victory that is well-deserved, and has been a long time coming,” said former HF Chairman Jamey French, who led the fight for the industry on this issue. “With the Administration and Congress in sync on wood as a green building material, we think we are in a strong position to grow our share of the green building market.”
HF will continue to analyze the impact of this policy shift and update you accordingly. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the USDA Announcement please click here.