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Comments sought on LEED wood certification

BY Brae Canlen

The U.S. Green Building Council is re-evaluating the way it awards LEED credits for certified wood, opening the door to one of the industry’s most controversial issues. The non-profit organization has begun a 30-day public comment period, which started Aug. 8, to gather input on a proposal that could include more LBM dealers in green building projects.

Comments are being solicited through the group’s Website, www.usgbc.org, until Sept. 7.

Up until this point, LEED has only recognized wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This excludes a number of other certifying bodies, including Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the Canadian Standards Association, the American Tree Farm System, and the Canadian PEFC standards.

The U.S. Green Building Council said it has been studying the issue for two years “with input from a widely diverse set of stakeholders” and internationally recognized forestry experts. Under a proposal now being considered, current and future wood certification programs would be measured against a set of benchmarks to determine if they qualify for credit under LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

“It was clear from our extensive research that the increasing internationalization of the wood supply chain, the changing ownership structure of American forests and the increasing diversity of wood certification programs globally demanded a more holistic, transparent approach,” said Brendan Owens, vp-LEED technical development, in the U.S. Green Building Council announcement.

One group of vocal stakeholders has been lumberyard owners, who object to the expense of FSC-certification, the difficulty of sourcing FSC-certified wood, and what they consider to be onerous chain-of-custody requirements. Pro dealers also say they’ve been precluded from bidding on many municipal, state and commercial jobs because they lacked FSC certification.

Some of these dealers voiced their concerns in Kansas City, Mo., on July 17, when the LBM Institute, the educational and research arm of the NLBMDA, held a public forum to gather input on the idea of a new “ecostamp” for dimensional lumber. Lumberyard owners made it clear that they objected to having just one certification program for wood.

FSC supporters feel just as strongly about the need for robust forest management standards. Environmentalists who support the FSC standards were able to derail a provision in California’s new green building codes that would have opened wood certification to several other programs. In order to get the building codes adopted, California officials deleted the certified wood requirement in the 11th hour, saying they would come back to it at a later date.

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Toro’s earnings decline in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pointing to the weakness of the domestic economy, Toro reported fiscal third-quarter net earnings of $38.2 million, down 10.1 percent from $42.5 million last year.

New sales grew 3 percent to $492.6 million, up from $478.7 million the previous year, which the company attributed to the strength of its international business.

Professional segment net sales for the quarter increased 5.9 percent to $351.6 million, while residential sales declined 0.6 percent to $132.1 million.

The company expects overall economic conditions to remain difficult for the remainder of fiscal 2008. “In the current environment, we’ll maintain our focus on driving retail demand, managing inventory levels and addressing rising commodity costs,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO.

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Do it Best names e-commerce manager

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Do it Best has hired Joe Caldwell — who has a background in e-commerce infrastructure and more than five year’s experience in network administration — as its e-commerce manager.

In this position, Caldwell will oversee the development, administration and operation of the company’s Web site, doitbest.com, including coordinating on-site advertising with vendors and shipping orders. The company’s customer service center, which helps members with logistics, shipping and product information, also falls under his jurisdiction.

Caldwell will report to Bill Zielke, vp-marketing, for the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based co-op.

Caldwell previously worked as facility manager with Brentwood, Tenn.-based American Color, one of North America’s largest full-service premedia and print companies, where he managed the print projects for Do it Best. Prior to that, he worked with Kruse International in Auburn, Ind., as a network administrator, coordinating the online and live auto auction administration.

Aresident of Fort Wayne, Ind., Caldwell is currently working toward his bachelor’s degree in internet information security at ITT Technical Institute.

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