Establishing green credentials got serious in the first weeks of 2009, with a number of major players weighing in, among them Underwriters Laboratories, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).
Cementing those credentials is given urgency by the growing concern and interest among homeowners in all things related to energy and ecology. Eight in 10 respondents to a recent survey sponsored by the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) said they would work with professionals who have expertise in green building or green appliances.
Underwriters Laboratories, widely known for its safety testing services, launched a new wholly-owned subsidiary, UL Environment Inc., created in response to the increased demand for environmentally sustainable products. UL Environment says its services will help industries and the public make sense of “green” claims while helping manufacturers maintain transparency and credibility in the marketplace.
UL Environment Inc.’s services include two new offerings — Environmental Claims Validation (ECV), a program that tests and validates manufacturers’ environmental claims, and a soon-to-be-released certification program that will test and certify products to industry-accepted environmental standards. In late 2009, the organization plans to expand with additional services.
NAHB’s National Green Building Standard for all residential construction work including single-family homes, apartments and condos, land development and remodeling and renovation was approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The standard defines what green practices can be incorporated into residential development and construction and how homeowners can operate and maintain their green homes.
As part of the process required by ANSI, NAHB and the International Code Council gathered a representative consensus committee composed of builders, architects, product manufacturers, regulators and environmental experts.
The work of the committee was administered by the NAHB Research Center, an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) launched a green remodeling Web site, www.greenremodeling.org, intended to provide eco-minded homeowners with a quick resource to find NARI Green Certified Professionals (GCP) as well as to serve as a resource for members.
“Professional remodelers and homeowners have requested access to detailed, easy-to-find advice about green remodeling,” said Gwen Biasi, director of marketing and communications for NARI. “Easy-to-access public information on green remodeling is essential. Homeowners need help and support to make informed choices about environmentally friendly remodeling,” she continued.
EIFS Included in IBC and IRC
The International Codes Council (ICC) has approved the inclusion of exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS) in the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC).
According to the Morrow, Ga.-based EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA), the ICC action validates the product and removes ambiguities in the interpretation of what EIFS are.
The association also says inclusion of EIFS into the 2009 building code — combined with a recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy demonstrating EIFS performs better than brick, stucco, and cement fiber siding — offers further evidence that barrier and drainage EIFS enclosures can effectively achieve the key building performance goals of energy efficiency, temperature control and moisture control in mixed, coastal Zone 3 climates.
ISSFA Changes Focus, Name
The board of directors of the International Solid Surface Fabricators Association (ISSFA), Henderson, Nev., has recommended its membership adopt a change in focus to embrace all decorative surfacing products. The change would shift the focus from solid surface and quartz surfacing products exclusively to all decorative surfacing materials.
To coincide with the change in focus, the association is now the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA).
As part of the restructuring, the board named industry veteran Russ Lee as executive director.
Association Revises Forecast
The Western Wood Products Association has scaled back its earlier forecast for lumber supply and demand for 2009.
The association reports Western mills are experiencing the largest downturn in lumber demand ever recorded. The downward trend is forecast to continue through 2009 before beginning recovery in 2010.
U.S. lumber demand is expected to finish 2008 at 40.9 billion board feet, the third consecutive annual decline in demand and 36 percent below the 2005 peak. For 2009, lumber demand is forecast to fall to 35 billion board feet, the lowest annual consumption since 1982.