Obama Administration Endorses Wood as Green Building Material

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Wood products, including responsibly forested American Hardwoods, recognized by Congress as environmentally preferable building material. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a strategy to promote use of wood as green building material.

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The American Hardwood Information Center is pleased to announce the Obama Adminstration’s official endorsement of wood as a green building material. Following the passage of House and Senate resolutions in 2009 and 2010 acknowledging that the American hardwood industry sustainably manages an environmentally preferable natural resource, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilscak recently announced a strategy to promote the use of wood as a green building material.

Proclaiming 2011 as The International Year of the Forest, Vilsack has directed the U.S. Forest Service to preferentially select wood in new building construction and maintain commitment to certified green building standards; examine ways to enhance research and development projects using green building materials; and actively work to identify innovative non-residential construction projects that utilize wood as a green building material.
“Forest Service studies show that wood compares favorably to competing materials,” said Vilsack in a statement released by the USDA. “Wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials.” Vilsack said this policy shift for USDA is consistent with President Obama's executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.

According to a recent Forest Service study of lifecycle analysis, it was determined that using wood yielded lower air emissions, including greenhouse gases, than the processes of using other traditional building materials.

In conjunction with the USDA’s three-part strategy, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has asked for an “increased use of locally milled timber in all new agency buildings and facilities,” while Vilsack has directed other USDA agencies to “incorporate the Forest Service policy of using domestic sustainable wood products as the preferred green building material for all USDA facilities and buildings.”

“This recognition is a testament to what we’ve long known to be true – that American hardwoods are truly the most sustainable building product available,” said Nancy Arend, vice president of Northwest Hardwoods and representative of the American Hardwood Information Center. “Coinciding with our initiative to promote American hardwoods as the building material of choice, we’re looking forward to seeing the efforts of both the American Hardwood Information Center and the USDA come to fruition.”

About the American Hardwood Information Center
The American Hardwood Information Center is the authoritative resource for consumers and professionals looking for information about American Hardwoods. The Center provides information on how to select hardwood species and build with American Hardwood products and offers advice from industry experts on decorating, care and maintenance and design trends. The Center’s goal is to promote the use of American Hardwoods in home and building products ranging from flooring, cabinetry and millwork to furniture and building materials. For more information on American Hardwoods, visit http://www.hardwoodinfo.com.

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