This week, President Obama announced his Better Building Initiative, a plan aimed to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings. The White House blog notes that the goal is to reach a 20 percent improvement by 2020, which is estimated to save $40 billion per year. A portion of this initiative includes the Race to Green program, which encourages building code reformation for states and local governments to improve commercial energy efficiency.
The Better Building Initiative is a great opportunity to think about the benefits of wood in commercial building, including efficiency. The use of structural wood composites in construction requires only one-third to one-fourth the energy in comparison to structural steel. Furthermore, using wood in place of steel in construction results in half the fossil fuel emissions and massive storage of carbon over the long term. Durability and renewability make wood an exceptional, sound building material, and using certified wood is an added proof point that it came from a responsible source.
Using SFI-certified wood is also an added bonus to our economy. The SFI forest management standard applies specifically to North American forests and it benefits the livelihoods of forest owners and other forest sector professionals here. With SFI, you know you’re creating demand in local markets rather than sourcing wood from overseas.