Congressmen weigh in on LEED standards
U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson has sent a letter to U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, urging changes to the treatment of forest products under the council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2012 rating system. LEED is currently taking public comment as it revises its evaluation process and standards, which will be released in November of 2012.
The bipartisan letter, signed by Thompson and seven other members of Congress representing districts with significant rural or forestry interests, urges the USGBC to “accept all credible forest management certification systems for qualification under the LEED rating system,” in order to incentivize the “utilization of domestically produced forest products.”
LEED’s current rating system recognizes wood only if it is certified to the Forest Stewardship Council’s forest standard. However, three-quarters of the domestically certified forests operate on different standards, primarily the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), which are not recognized by LEED.
As a result, LEED’s rating requirement has the adverse effect of dissuading builders from using U.S.-made wood products that are ineligible for LEED certification, despite their substantial environmental and economic benefits, the letter said.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), released in September 2011, outlines scientific findings that support the environmental and economic benefits of using wood in green building construction. The report further states: “Sustainability of forest products can be verified using any credible third-party rating system, such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council or American Tree Farm System."
Thompson, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, is also the Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy & Forestry. All eight signatories of the letter, including Thompson, were also signatories to a letter from 79 Members of Congress in July 2010, urging changes to the USGBC’s treatment of forest products.
Many thanks to these
Many thanks to these Congressmen. I will no longer use the statement that Congress has done nothing right in years. Now if they could only get rid of Dodd-Frank and loosen up credit terms for business and construction...
Brookstone hires former HD exec as president and CEO
Specialty retailer Brookstone has hired Stephen Bebis as its new president and CEO, effective immediately.
Prior to joining Brookstone, Bebis spent 14 years as founder, president and CEO of Golf Town, the largest specialty golf retailer in Canada. Starting the business from scratch, Bebis grew Golf Town to 57 locations across Canada and led the expansion of the company into the Boston market last year with seven stores.
Bebis began his retailing career with Sears in store sales and management, and later moved into merchandising roles in 1976 with Grossman’s, a chain of 60 lumberyards in the Northeast that broke apart in 1996. Bebis joined Home Depot in 1984, where he grew revenues through the introduction of new merchandise categories.
After serving as the VP, general merchandise manager for Home Depot’s mid-southern division, Bebis in 1991 led the start-up of Aikenhead’s Home Improvement Warehouse in Toronto, Canada. As president and CEO, Bebis grew the company to 12 stores with 10 planned before selling Aikenhead’s in 1994 to Home Depot. After two years as president and CEO of Home Depot Canada, Bebis joined Jumbo Sports (formerly Sports and Recreation) in 1996 as president and CEO before launching Golf Town in 1998.
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Existing-home sales increased 3.4% in April
According to the tally from the national Association of Realtors, there’s the beginning of a return to normalcy taking place across housing.
Existing-home sales in April rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million, up 3.4% from a downwardly revised 4.47 million in March.
“It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of high affordability conditions. A return of normal home buying for occupancy is helping home sales across all price points, and now the recovery appears to be extending to home prices,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The general downtrend in both listed and shadow inventory has shifted from a buyers’ market to one that is much more balanced, but in some areas it has become a seller’s market.”
Compared with a year ago, existing home sales are up 10.0%.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types jumped 10.1% to $177,400 in April from a year ago; the March price showed an upwardly revised 3.1% annual improvement.
“This is the first time we’ve had back-to-back price increases from a year earlier since June and July of 2010 when the gains were less than one percent,” Yun said.
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