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D.C. Hotline: Toward a consensus-based green building standard

BY HBSDEALER Staff

By Ben Gann, Director of legislative affairs, NLBMDA

The National Lumber & Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has joined other leading associations representing a wide range of interests from the building and construction industry in the formation of the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC). The 32-member coalition, which includes groups such as the American Chemistry Council and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has the goal of promoting and supporting the development of sustainable building standards under accredited consensus processes and scientific performance data.

Formation of the coalition comes as the General Services Administration (GSA) is in the process of reviewing the use of green building standards by the federal government, while the U.S. Green Building Council continues its efforts to revise its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system.

AHPBC has said GSA should only endorse green building rating systems that are developed through an open, balanced and consensus-based approach. The current credit development process for LEED is not open, available or transparent to all interested stakeholders.

AHPBC supports the common objective of improving energy efficiency and environmental performance in buildings and will continue to engage members of Congress on the issue. NLBMDA is proud to be a member of the coalition and looks forward to working with building and construction industry stakeholders in the development and voluntary adoption of green building standards that embrace a consensus-based approach.

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Armstrong sells cabinet business

BY Brae Canlen

Armstrong World Industries has entered into an agreement to sell its cabinets business to American Industrial Partners for $27 million, according to a company announcement. Headquartered in The Colony, Texas, Armstrong’s cabinet division has a manufacturing facility in Thompsontown, Pa., and employs approximately 750 people. Sales in 2011 were $136 million, just under 5% of the company’s total sales. The unit had a loss in 2011 and had not been profitable since 2007.

“Exiting our cabinets business supports our business strategy to focus on our core businesses — flooring and ceilings — around the world," said Armstrong CEO Matt Espe. "We are working closely with AIP to ensure a smooth transition for our employees, customers and suppliers."

American Industrial Partners was founded in 1989 and is an operationally oriented middle-market private equity firm that makes control investments in North American-based industrial businesses serving domestic and global markets. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012. 

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Alleged tree poisoner arrested after dispute at Lowe’s

BY Brae Canlen

A college football fan accused of spiking mature oak trees with an herbicide in Birmingham, Ala., was arrested at a Louisiana Lowe’s store following an argument at the returns desk over a lawn mower refund.

The Hammond Daily Star reported that Harvey Updyke Jr., 63, demanded $150 for returning a lawnmower to Lowe’s on Sept. 18 , but the store manager told him he was only due $110. After the situation escalated, store personnel called the police. 

Updyke was booked into jail after making comments deemed threatening to Lowe’s employees. He is currently awaiting trial in Alabama, where the University of Alabama football fan stands accused of poisoning a group of venerable oak trees at Auburn University following a 2010 national championship game between the two teams. Auburn, which beat Alabama 28-27 in the Iron Bowl, traditionally decorates the trees following big victories.

Updyke has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to criminal mischief, desecrating a venerable object and other charges. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

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