Volume 45, Issue 9 - November/December  2006

Green Continues to Grow
A Green World continues to emerge with environmentally-friendly products

If you ask people what constitutes a green product, you’re likely to get a variety of answers. Building Green by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan explains that the definition of green building is imprecise, but offers the interpretation that green building refers to how a building interacts with the planet’s ecosystem. To meet the goal of sustainability and “greenness,” the authors suggest that a building meet five requirements that: it feature low construction impact and resource efficiency, is long lasting, nontoxic and beautiful.

The Canadian Wood Council’s publication Green By Design lists four guiding principles of green building. They are: reducing energy use during the building service life; minimizing external pollution and environmental damage; reducing embodied energy and resource depletion; and minimizing internal pollution and damage to health. The council promotes the use of wood in green building, as naturally occurring and the only major building material that is renewable. 

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Model Green Home Building Guidelines, energy efficiency is considered a priority in most green building programs, since it has such far-reaching environmental impacts. It is a consideration not just in the operation of a home, but in its (and its materials’) construction. According to the guidelines, energy-efficiency improvements that make a home even 20 percent more efficient can reduce a homeowner’s annual utility expenses significantly. 

Bob Chew, a builder in Barrington, R.I., wrote in a 2003 article for Journal of Light Construction, “It isn’t always easy to tell whether a given material qualifies as green.” 

His requirements for green buildings largely mirror those of other organizations, but he has help in deciding which products may help promote his goal of a green. 

“To keep up with them, I rely heavily on the GreenSpec Directory, which is a nearly 400-page guide to green materials from hundreds of manufacturers.”

The directory is compiled by BuildingGreen Inc. and is available from their website, www.buildinggreen.com

Out With the Old and Infuse the New
Ferndale, Wash.-based Chemco, a wood modification technology services provider, utilizes a unique process it says doubles the strength, hardness and durability of plantation-grown softwoods, producing a product it’s calling: Alowood. This new process employs a patented combination of vacuum and pressure injection that replaces air and moisture with Everdex, an all-natural additive made from corn and soy proteins, followed by a thermal curing process that locks in proteins. The company says the resulting wood is capable of surpassing other medium- to high-density hardwoods in durability and strength, yet retains the warmth and character associated with hardwood.

Yin Wang, Ph.D. and vice president, research and development for Chemco says, “Because the natural additives are evenly dispersed within the wood’s cells, the look and feel of the wood is all natural and consistently even.” 

VT Cores Meet Greenguard Standards
VT Industries says its particleboard core doors meet acceptable Greenguard Environmental Institute’s (GEI) indoor air quality criteria. GEI is an industry independent, non-profit organization that oversees the greenguard certification program. The Holstein, Iowa-based laminate countertop and architectural wood door provider says its doors were tested by Air Quality Sciences Inc. of Atlanta, Ga., in accordance with: ASTM small and full-scale chamber standards, D5116-97 and D6670; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) protocol; and the state of Washington (SOW).

According to the company, each door was placed in an environmental chamber where emission levels were monitored for total volatile organic compounds (TVOC’s), formaldehyde, total aldehydes and other individual volatile organic compounds (iVOC’s) for a one-week period. In the end, emission levels were less than the maximum allowable air concentrations at 96 hours (equal to five lapsed days from product installation).

Start Green and Keep the Air Clean
Arch Wood Protection Inc. is a manufacturer of wood preservatives, fire retardants, and anti-sapstain products that’s headquartered in Smyrna, Ga. It offers FrameGuard® – a coated wood it says helps protect against mold and other unwanted pests. The coating is a water-based, proprietary combination of patented and EPA-registered active ingredients, that gives wood a distinctive green color. 

The company says this easily identifiable coating protects against mold and wood-destroying organisms that can cause deterioration and odor. The coating can be applied by spray or dip at a treatment plant, OEM plant, lumber mill, distribution yard or any other location where the quality of coverage can be precisely controlled.

The coating can be applied to oriented strand board, parallel strand lumber, laminated veneer lumber and wood I-beams, as well as lumber and plywood.

Embracing FSC Certification
Masisa USA of Atlanta, Ga., offers products that come from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests. Among the company’s products are its Presidio collection of MDF French doors, Andinos collection of clear pine doors, Santa Fe collection of knotty pine doors and Prairie collection of primed MDF doors.

According to company officials, “All of [Masisa’s] forestry activities are conducted in working environments that embrace international environmental health and safety standards.”

BrasPine Forests Meet FSC Standards
BrasPine Madeiras of Jaguariaiva, Brazil, says its raw material comes from well-managed forests, certified according to FSC requirements. The company offers finger-jointed pine products, including mouldings, exterior frames, split and flat jambs and more.

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