SFI at the USGBC GreenBuild Expo

I’ve just returned from Boston, having spent a great day at the USGBC’s Green Build Expo.

This is the 5th year SFI has participated in the USGBC’s Green Build Expo, and over the years the SFI team has spent countless hours in the exhibit hall talking with architects, developers, and policy makers, among others, about sustainability, about the important role of forest certification, and about the evolution of green building.

It is clear to see there really is an evolution – not just for innovative products and building systems, but evolution in people’s environmental consciousness. Across the board, willingness to incorporate sustainability into our lives and adopt workable measures to protect the environment is increasing.

For example, since 2000, membership at the USGBC has more than tripled, and the market value of green building is projected to keep drastically rising as well. According to McGraw-Hill Construction, the green building market at comes in at around $12 billion value in 2008 and the report projects growth to $60 billion value by 2010. (As an aside, we did a special insert with McGraw-Hill and BusinessWeek magazine about mainstreaming “green” and construction – you can download it here: http://www.sfiprogram.org/files/pdf/feature-businessweek-2008.pdf )

For SFI we’ve seen double and triple digit growth across our program. We now have close to 150 million acres of land certified across North America, and over 320 Chain of Custody Certificates. For the year 2007, we calculated a 386% increase in CoC certificates, and with 2008 nearly over, I can assure you that momentum is strong!

The movement is clearly growing.

These programs and organizations themselves are changing too. For SFI, a clear example of how we reflect emerging public values and adapt to new information and science is our public review process which happens every five years. You can learn more about that on our site here: http://www.sfiprogram.org/standard-development-process.php

And as I am sure you all know, the USGBC is considering revising their system to recognize numerous forest certification programs, including SFI. If you didn’t catch it already, you can read my blog post about LEED and SFI here: http://www.goodforforests.com/archives/89

While we’ve participated in the USGBC show as exhibitors for a number of years, today I had the honor of addressing the crowd and introducing a long-time champion of green building, Architect Stefan Behnisch. The USGBC have posted a videostream of the session – you can watch it here: http://www.greenbuild365.org/GreenExpoVideoDetail.aspx?GreenExpoID=19

In addition to being the founding member of international design firm Behnisch Architekten and US-based Behnisch Architects, Mr. Behnisch has lectured at universities around the world. His approach to sustainable architecture is highly acknowledged in Europe and all over the world. He was recently deemed “Environmental Champion” by EnvironDesign Journal and Interiors & Sources and his buildings have been honored by prestigious institutions and industry organizations alike.

I was interested to read some of Stefan’s views on sustainability. In one interview, he said that sustainability is “not a miracle, or secret science, but is mostly common sense and a significant amount of work and effort.” He also said that architecture and environmental responsibility are eternally meshed and “all architects should be practicing responsibly.” I couldn’t agree more.

By the way, have a look at the new ad we launched at GreenBuild: http://www.sfiprogram.org/files/pdf/ads/ad-solidwood-twoways.pdf. It is one of my favourites for sure.

2 thoughts on “SFI at the USGBC GreenBuild Expo

  1. I have to humbly say that I am most impressed with all of the phenomenal work that the sustainable forestry crusaders put forth into the cause. With all of the accelerated Green moving politics and geopolitical struggles going on during these times we all are going to have to drastically change the way we do things and be conscious of our footprint on the world. My family and I have been using different types of materials that come from sustainable forestry’s of South America. We use coconut and bamboo materials as often as possible and we use deck tiles that we purchase in the united states. It takes personal responsibility to change the world one household at a time.

  2. Dear Mr. Deck Tile – thanks for your note. I couldn’t agree more. We do need to change the way we do things and be more conscious of the purchasing decisions we are making. Only 10% of the world’s forests are certified – how do you know the product you are purchasing comes from a sustainably managed forest or one that has been legally logged? Forest certification is key to providing consumers with those assurances. We all have to do our part and that starts with asking questions about the source of the products we are purchasing. Bamboo and other rapidly renewable products are good, but they are not the only solution – we can’t start planting bamboo everywhere, especially in North America where we have much different forests. We also have to ask questions about things like was the resource well-managed, were social, environmental and economic values considered, what were the greenhouse gases associated with transporting the product. These are life cycle analysis questions that people are starting to think about more and more. Thanks again for your note and your commitment to responsible forest management!

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