Know Your Green Regulations

Posted: 04/10/2013 4:54PM

 

The woodworking industry continues to change and evolve in 2013. To help you keep up on the important issues that affect your business, here are some key regulatory updates you need to know.

Lacey Act
There was a recent flurry of activity on Capitol Hill in both the House and Senate to make changes to Lacey. Timber Products Company joined with most wood producers to oppose various bills because we felt they would gut the key provisions of Lacey.

As you likely know, Gibson Guitar settled with the federal government on its Lacey violations.  We believe the government’s aggressive actions taken toward Gibson were intended to send a message to the wood products industry that they plan to enforce Lacey. 

Lacey is having an impact around the globe. Our wood procurement team has seen some wood taken off the market and some in limited availability. 

What you need to know: Make sure you are dealing with reputable importers and insist they provide you with all the required documentation.  The “due care” obligation in the law applies to everyone in the value chain.

LEED Update
The most recent update to America’s leading green building program, LEED 2012, was intended to lay the groundwork for a new vision of this program. It focused on dealing with climate change through green building practices. 

To achieve this, there arose a desire to earn LEED credits through performance-based criteria. To support this concept, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and the subsequent Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) were given serious consideration. The internal debate on this was quite heated, with passions being voiced for both for and against their use.Building product manufacturers formed a coalition to address the most pressing issues.

For this and a slew of other reasons, the USGBC declared that LEED 2012 would not happen and that a new process would be undertaken starting Oct. 2, 2012, to eventually result in what will be called LEEDv4.  This version is supposed to go into effect June 1, 2013.

What you need to know and do: Take the time to learn the facts. Go to the Documents section on the Timber Products website and selectLEED Credit Support. Make sure that every person in your company who deals with green building issues has this document at their disposal. It contains a list of the LEED credits that pertain to wood products and how your company can help your customers earn LEED points by using wood.

If you are frustrated with LEED and its processes, you are not alone. We actually saw some opportunities where LEED would have treated wood as the renewable building material we know it is. What this delay will hopefully do is spur the acceptance of other credible green building programs, even for government buildings.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD)
If you haven’t already done so, take time to learn the basics about each of these issues. We see these performance-based systems as being the future of environmental claims. While they will not totally replace certifications such as FSC and SFI, an LCA and subsequent EPD will be in more demand by the future marketplace if our predictions hold true.  For a summary on LCA and EPD, go to www.dovetailpartners.com.  This site is an excellent source on these and many other environmental issues.

 


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