Allegheny College: Linking Green Building & Certified Forestry in Pennsylvania

Sep 21, 2004, 01:00 ET from Allegheny College

    MEADVILLE, Pa., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- At a news conference today,
 researchers from Allegheny College released a new directory to help link
 supply and demand for "green" forest products in Pennsylvania.
     Ten years ago, Pennsylvania became a national leader in third-party
 certification of forest management.  In 1997-98, Pennsylvania became the first
 state to certify more than two million acres of state forests under the Forest
 Stewardship Council (FSC) system. With more than 40 wood processing facilities
 certified to handle wood produced under the FSC principles and criteria,
 Pennsylvania's entire forest industry has made a significant commitment to
     Despite the potential for certification to contribute to conservation-
 oriented economic development, links between certified forest product supply
 and demand remain weak. The strongest demand for certified wood products comes
 from builders adhering to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
 principles promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council.
     In the first year of a three-year joint project of Allegheny College's
 Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED), the Rainforest
 Alliance, and The Wilderness Society, efforts are being made to both
 understand the causes of the problem and to develop practical solutions.
 Research conducted this summer shows considerable "leakage" throughout the
 certified supply chain as wood moves from the forest to sawmills and secondary
     "While groups such as the Green Building Alliance, the Green Building
 Association of Central Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Valley Green Building
 Council have helped to make Pennsylvania a national leader in LEED-certified
 building construction, the Commonwealth lags behind other states with respect
 to scoring points in LEED's rating system for using FSC-certified wood
 products," says Allegheny College Environmental Science Professor Terrence
 Bensel, Co-Director of the Northwest Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry
     "The directory released today will provide critical information that will
 connect environmentally conscious buyers and sellers and reduce or eliminate
 one of the most significant hurdles: finding sources for certified wood
 products," says Bensel.
     There are other problems, of course, for Pennsylvania's "green building"
 movement, which the 3-year project will endeavor to address.  During the
 remaining 30 months of the collaboration, the group will continue activities
 such as conducting market research, providing group certification training,
 and distributing fact sheets for sourcing FSC-certified wood.
     The following Web sites provide additional information about sustainable
 forestry and related topics:
      - Certified Forest Products Council:
      - Forest Stewardship Council:  
      - Rainforest Alliance SmartWood Program:
      - Scientific Certification Systems:
      - Center for Economic and Environmental
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SOURCE Allegheny College