There was big news out of Washington, D.C., last week and it didn’t have anything to do with healthcare or the sequester. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it now recommends two certification systems that will allow it to measure how federal buildings of all kinds can best save energy, improve overall importance and cut down on utility costs.

Why is this important? Because for the first time an alternative to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program has been approved for use by the government. The GSA also recommends the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes 2010 as a viable third party green building certification system.

Third party certification systems like LEED and Green Globes help in measuring reduction targets for water, energy, greenhouse gas emissions and wood sourcing against industry standards. Agencies can use one of the two certification systems that best meet their building portfolios, which range from office buildings, to laboratories, to hospitals, to airplane hangars.

This is a positive step forward for the U.S. wood products industry because:

  • Unlike LEED, Green Globes recognizes more than just wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This will broaden the use of material certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and give architects and designer choices when specifying wood products
  • It opens the door to additional programs in the future. Good forestry practices are good forestry practices, and now that the GSA is accepting to new points of view this should only grow in the future.
  • Green Globes has been a major green building program in Canada for more than 25 years. The organization has steadily grown here in America as project managers and consumers look for green building program alternatives that are rigorous but not overly restrictive. Green Globes fills that void.

What do you think? How will this impact your thinking when ordering wood products for your projects?

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