Tag Archives: USDA

Wood is Good – Green Building Construction

Obama Administration says “Wood is Good”

The Obama Adminstration has officially endorsed wood as a green building material. The U.S.  House and Senate passed resolutions in 2009 and 2010 acknowledging the American wood 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.

Pole Building Framing Lumber

Pole Building Framing Lumber

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 which 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 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.”

Pole buildings incorporate the use of wood for structural members. Unlike all steel, or many other construction options, pole buildings utilize pressure treated columns, prefabricated wood trusses and dimensional lumber roof and wall framing – the entire structural “guts” are all wood. What differentiates pole buildings from “stick built” construction is the simplified building geometry of the post frame system. The pole building goal being to utilize the minimum amount of materials needed, to place a large clearspan volume of space under cover.

It’s green.  It’s mean.  It’s a pole building dream!  It just doesn’t get any better.