LEED rules attacked by SFI as ‘artificial’
SFI Inc., the non-profit organization that oversees the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program, has issued a statement criticizing the third and latest draft of LEED 2012 for only issuing LEED points or credits for certified wood that is “FSC or better.”
SFI maintains that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which administers the LEED program, continues to put up artificial barriers, shutting out 75% of North America’s forests that are certified by programs other than the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
“This new language raises more issues than it resolves: Who will decide what is ‘better than FSC’ and on what basis?” asked Kathy Abusow, SFI’s president and CEO. “SFI clearly has requirements that are not matched by FSC standards, a fact that continues to go unrecognized by the USGBC.”
In response, Ashley Katz, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Green Building Council, said that the LEED rating system is designed “to choose materials that have verified green credentials. LEED references today’s best certifications and labels for all materials, including wood but retains the flexibility to allow recognition for new, emerging and substantially improved certifications that may appear between versions. This approach is consistent throughout the rating system, including in the energy, water, location and indoor environmental quality categories.”
LEED 2012 is still in public comment stage; the deadline is March 20. “We welcome and encourage input,” Katz said. Comments can be submitted at usgbc.org/leed2012.
Abusow of the SFI urged supporters of forest certification to vote no and send USGBC a message that it is time to accept all forest certification programs if LEED cares about responsible forestry.
PPG Porter Paints unveils new color palette
PPG Porter Paints has launched the Nashville Color Collection, a new palette of 75 colors representing the shades of the Nashville landscapes. The palette combines the neutral colors in traditional bungalows with the bold shades of the area’s modern communities.
Every color has a story, including the musically inspired "Opry Gold" and "Glutch Green," inspired by the Glutch neighborhood, which is the first LEED-certified southern community.
"The palette represents the musical roots of Nashville with a mix of saturated, vibrant hues inspired by the city’s contemporary architecture to create a collection of colors familiar to the Nashville area," said Troy Harper, PPG Porter Paints color consultant, contributor to the palette and Nashville resident. "The colors in this collection allow homeowners to bring the inspiring shades that make the area unique into their homes."
Developed by local PPG architectural coatings representatives and color experts, the Nashville Color Collection is part of PPG Porter Paints Voice of Color Program.
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Sears Canada stores closing in three major cities
Sears Canada is closing three downtown stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa. The move follows an announcement last month by Sears Holdings, the majority owner of Sears Canada, that it will raise about $770 million by spinning off parts of its business and selling prime real estate.
“While we had no plans to close stores, the transaction for these three specific locations provides an attractive financial benefit for the company which strategically allows us to drive growth in areas which can be most beneficial,” said Calvin McDonald, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. We are investing in a refresh of our stores and piloting new formats which will provide Canadians exciting ways to access Sears products and services.”
Sears Canada plans to close locations at the Vancouver Pacific Centre, the Calgary Chinook Centre and the Ottawa Rideau Centre by Oct. 31, 2012. It will return the locations to developer Cadillac Fairview Corp Ltd for C$170 million. The transaction is expected to close on or around April 20.
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