Durability + Design
About  |  Subscribe  |  Advertise  |  Connect 
Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook


Download our free ebook: Generic Architectural Coatings: Performance and Uses

D+D News

Main News Page

USDA’s Promotion of Wood as ‘Green’ Material Wins Fans

Thursday, March 31, 2011

More items for Color + Design

Comment | More

In an announcement getting widespread applause from the forest-products industry, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said wood building materials will be actively promoted as contributing to green-building practices endorsed by the Department of Agriculture and its U.S. Forest Service division.

“Wood has a vital role to play in meeting the growing demand for green building materials,” Vilsack said. “Forest Service studies show that wood compares favorably to competing materials.”

 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

USDA said a recent Forest Service lifecycle analysis found that harvesting, transporting, manufacturing, and using wood in lumber and panel products in buildings yields fewer air emissions—including greenhouse gases—than resource extraction, manufacturing and using other commonly-used building materials.

“In fact, wood-based wall systems can require significantly less total energy for manufacturing than thermally comparable houses using other common material systems,” the department said.

At an event launching the International Year of the Forest, Vilsack reviewed a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service’s and USDA’s current green building practices.

The strategy includes the following.

  • The Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green-building standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural products as it fulfills President Obama’s executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
  • Vilsack has asked the Forest Service to examine ways to increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting to him on ways to enhance the research and development being done on green building materials.
  • 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 such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.

‘Preferred Green-Building Material’

The Agriculture Department said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell issued a directive to all units, calling for increased use of locally milled timber in all new agency buildings and facilities. Vilsack also directed the heads of all 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.

“In keeping with the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors conservation agenda, USDA has made a strong commitment to conserving and restoring our forests to protect watersheds, recreation, and rural jobs,” Vilsack said.

Tidwell said the U.S. “has the resources, the work force and the innovative spirit to reintroduce wood products into all aspects of the next generation of buildings.” He added, “As we move forward with restoring America’s forests, we are getting smarter and more efficient in how we use wood products as both an energy and green building source, which will help maintain rural jobs.”

Industry, Conservation Groups Both on Board

Vilsack’s statements were met with ringing endorsements by representative of the forest- and wood-products industries, and conservation groups expressed support for the USDA’s pledge to pursue sustainable forestry practices.

Cees de Jager, executive director of the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, said Vilsack’s announcement was a “triple win” that “will create new jobs in rural communities, reduce energy use in buildings, and lower overall construction costs in buildings.”

Said Larry Selzer, president and CEO of the Conservation Fund: “We laud Secretary Vilsack, the administration, the Forest Service and the USDA for their leadership on the critical value of sustainably-produced wood as a green building material.”

Research Examines Innovation in Use of Materials

USDA said Forest Service researchers are also experimenting with new and innovative ways to use smaller-diameter timber and leftover branches and limbs for wood products. Approaches being studied include nanotechnology advancements and the use of laminate technologies.

The Forest Service is also encouraging the use of current renewable energy advances, such as wood-to-energy power systems, low-impact environmental site designs, green purchasing, and operation and maintenance practices.

USDA is highlighting its green-building policy in the Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, the Department’s blueprint for implementing President Obama’s sustainability executive order (E.O. 13514). USDA said it will complete an update to that plan this June.


Tagged categories: Wood; Wood coatings

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Beautiful Wood, NO flames

Achieve a Class A flame spread rating on your fine wood products with a clear, varnish-quality, durable finish. PyroCide Clear by PyroTech

Keim Mineral Coatings
Translucent concrete stains for new and old concrete

Penetrating, translucent mineral silicate stains harmonize uneven concrete color and blend patches and repairs, without the "painted" look. Will never peel.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
SSPC 2016 Register Now!

SSPC2016 is earlier this year, don't forget to book your plane tickets and hotel. See you soon. For more information visit www.sspc2016.com

PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
Industrial strength performance in ONE can.

Now get the durability and protection of two components in one can: Amercoat® ONE, PSX® ONE and Sigmadur ONE.

KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
KTA Inspection Services

Determine Specification Compliance:
• Surface Preparation
• Moisture Content
• Paint Materials & Application
• Aesthetics
Contact: Kevin Brown,

Atlas Material Testing Technology

Helping You Put Your Products To The Test

• Outdoor Accelerated
• Laboratory Testing
• Accelerated Weathering

www.atlas-mts.com atlas.info@ametek.com

AGC Chemicals
FEVE Coating Simulates Dazzling Gold Leaf On Facade Restoration

LUMIFLON based coatings can last up to 30 years without fading, offering a low-maintenance solution that retains color and gloss and can be field-applied

World of Concrete
World of Concrete 2016

NEW for 2016: The all-new precast area focuses on precast products, technologies and equipment including coring machines, pipe unloaders, precast forms, above/below ground precast, concrete pipe, manhole and septic tank equipment, and more!


Technology Publishing Co., 2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@durabilityanddesign.com

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker


© Copyright 2012-2015, Technology Publishing Co., All rights reserved