WASHINGTON—The National Association of State Foresters applauded a new strategy from U.S. Department of Agriculture that will promote the use of wood as a green building material. Announcement of the new pro-wood policy came from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at an event launching the U.S. celebration of the International Year of Forests March 30 in Washington, DC.
USDA’s strategy will direct the U.S. Forest Service to preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building standards. The Secretary has also asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to increase its commitment to green building by identifying ways to enhance the research and development being done around green building materials. Finally, the Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards.
“From both environmental and economic perspectives, State Foresters believe it is important that wood products, and particularly products derived from U.S. forests, play a substantial role in the U.S. green building movement,” said NASF Executive Director Jay Farrell. “We hope this new policy from USDA will carry over to other federal agencies, and more importantly, set an example for the green building industry.”
NASF passed a resolution in 2008 recognizing the value of wood from certified, sustainably managed U.S. forests as a green building material. The association and its partners in the Working Forests Coalition have urged USDA to adopt a green building policy favoring wood as a key approach to forest conservation.