Jessica McFaul 202-463-2436, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – More than 50 forest products industry leaders from across the country are on Capitol Hill today representing the interests of the nearly 900,000 Americans in talking to Members of Congress about the top priorities for paper and wood products manufacturers.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the American Wood Council (AWC) are co-hosting the 2013 Forest Products Industry Fly-In, in which CEOs and senior executives will discuss industry priorities with Congress including:
WASHINGTON – On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposed regulations for the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, in which the statute sets formaldehyde emission limits for hardwood plywood, particle board, and medium density fiberboard.
The legislation – which was passed in 2010 – is supported by the American Wood Council (AWC), the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), and other wood products associations.
"We supported the legislation as consistent with good product stewardship, extending nationwide California's existing rule, and we support reasonable standards that are consistent with our industry's commitment to the safety of our products and the original intent of the legislation," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "We look forward to commenting on the proposal to ensure that the rules implement the full intent of the legislation."
"American consumers should feel confident that products covered by the proposed regulations and made by North American manufacturers are low in formaldehyde emissions and are already certified as having met the requirements of this proposed EPA rule," added AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman. "North American wood products manufacturers have worked hard to meet these rigorous standards and support their nationwide application."
To the extent the proposed rules implement the State of California's existing performance-based standard, the regulations would create a single nationwide standard and allow those manufacturers that are already complying to not be placed at a competitive disadvantage.
WASHINGTON – The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have announced the release of four new environmental product declarations (EPDs) for North American wood products, including softwood lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, and glue-laminated lumber.
EPDs are standardized tools that provide information about the environmental footprint of the products they cover. The North American wood products industry has taken its EPDs one step further by obtaining third-party verification from the Underwriters Laboratories Environment (ULE), an independent certifier of products and their sustainability.
"Our industry has long been committed to transparency regarding the environmental impact of its products and encourages other building material producers to do the same," said AWC President & CEO Robert Glowinski. "For the first time, users have a science-based and third-party verified tool to understand and weigh what environmental factors are important to them when making their product selections."
"The EPD process is one that is open and transparent, outlining where wood products have optimal environmental performance capabilities as well as areas where various products have a need for improvement," said CWC President Michael Giroux. "This form of comparison data would equal the playing field for competing products and mitigate any past false stigmas that may have existed without scientific or justified proof."
Based on international standards (ISO 14025), EPDs have worldwide applicability and include information about product environmental impacts such as resources, energy use and efficiency, global warming potential, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.
Business purchasing decisions will likely require the kind of environmental information provided by EPDs in the future to account for factors such as carbon footprint. By choosing wood, builders can reduce carbon footprints from materials used during construction, contributing to a reduction in global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "Wood products can displace more fossil-fuel intensive construction materials such as concrete, steel, aluminum, and plastics, which can result in significant emission reductions."
For more information and to download currently available EPDs for wood products, visit http://www.awc.org/greenbuilding/epd.html.
WASHINGTON – American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski today issued the following statement regarding the Senate Agriculture Committee's passage of the 2013 Farm Bill.
"We commend Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member Thad Cochran for their leadership in providing an exhaustive review of the 2012 Farm Bill, and we appreciate their hard work to improve the standing of wood products in USDA's biobased programs. Wood products by nature are biobased and should be eligible to compete on a level playing field with other biobased products as was originally intended by the law."
LEESBURG, VA – The American Wood Council (AWC) has revised several of its standards and design tools in response to upcoming changes to Southern Pine design values. The American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) Board of Review approved changes to design values for all grades and all sizes of visually graded Southern Pine and Mixed Southern Pine lumber, with a recommended effective date of June 1, 2013 to allow for their orderly implementation. The changes to AWC standards and design tools ensure they remain consistent with the new design values. Visit www.spib.org and www.southernpine.com for more details.
In advance of the implementation date, AWC has developed addenda and other updates to its standards and design tools as follows:
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, March 6, U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and U.S. Reps. Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-PA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced Senate and House versions respectively of the Forest Products Fairness Act of 2013.
If passed, this legislation would modify the definition of "biobased" materials to specifically include all forest products regardless of "newness" or "market maturity" in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) BioPreferred Program's voluntary labeling and government procurement initiatives.
"On behalf of the our members and the structural wood products industry, I'd like to thank Sens. Pryor and Blunt and Reps. Thompson and Schrader for their leadership to correct the arbitrary exclusion of wood products from the USDA's BioPreferred Program, and we deeply appreciate the support provided by the co-sponsors of these bills as well," said American Wood Council President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "It's misleading and does a terrible disservice to our industry to say that something made almost entirely from a biobased resource does not qualify, and we are hopeful that Congress will recognize – and correct – this shortcoming."
The USDA BioPreferred Program was originally enacted as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to help consumers identify and use biobased products. Products with as little as 25 percent biobased content are recognized under the program's current implementation guidelines, while many traditional wood products that have up to 100 percent biobased content are not.
These bills clarify that USDA should recognize forest products as biobased and will ensure a competitive marketplace for all products with biobased content, including wood.
MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC — FPInnovations - in collaboration with the American Wood Council (AWC), the United States (U.S.) Forest Products Laboratory, APA, and U.S. WoodWorks - has published a guide to cross‐laminated timber (CLT) applications in the U.S. Developed for building professionals, the publication provides technical information and illustrates CLT applications adapted to current codes and standards.
The multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed CLT Handbook is designed to provide technical information for the design, construction, and implementation of CLT systems, encouraging adoption and selection of wood-based solutions in general in residential, non-residential, and multi-story construction. The U.S. CLT Handbook can be downloaded at www.masstimber.com and is available for sale at www.awc.org.
"Thanks to partnerships like these, we can demonstrate the viability of innovative technologies, with a view to marketing new products or developing new markets. The CLT Handbook is a green construction jewel and another example of FPInnovations' contribution to transforming the forest products industry. FPInnovations is continuing to assume its leadership role by paving the way to wood‐based, living solutions," says FPInnovations President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pierre Lapointe.
"A proposed code change advocated by AWC to expand the use of CLT through the building code's heavy timber construction classification was approved by the International Code Council in late 2012. The recently approved change will lead the way for new U.S. markets for this emerging wood product in non-residential buildings," said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski. "This classification will allow 50 percent taller and larger CLT buildings than previously permitted and was precipitated by development of the manufacturing standard for the product by APA and demonstration of its fire performance in tests conducted by FPInnovations and AWC."
Developed in Europe and currently being used in Canada, CLT is gaining popularity around the globe for residential and non‐residential applications.
Like other structural wood-based products, CLT is a sustainable product made from a renewable resource that lends itself well to prefabrication, resulting in very rapid construction and dismantling at the end of its service life, contributing to greater reuse and recycling of construction materials.
Among other characteristics, CLT offers outstanding structural, thermal, and acoustic performance and enables new open‐plan designs and faster, cleaner, safer, and less noisy worksites. Its competitive advantages include:
Founded by the International Code Council (ICC), Building Safety Month is celebrated by jurisdictions worldwide during the month of May. Building Safety Month is a public awareness campaign offered each year to help individuals, families, and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. The campaign reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement, and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system.
AWC is pleased to participate in Building Safety Month and will be providing a series of articles and other information about the standards and design tools developed by AWC that contribute to building safety.
ICC Building Safety Month Week 3: Backyard & Pool Safety
It's that time of year where family's across the country are spending time in the great outdoors, and often on their decks. Unfortunately, "Many (decks) were built before code requirements were in place to protect consumers," according to Mike Beaudry, executive vice president of the North American Deck & Railing Association. Beaudry also points out that in 2007 the Consumer Product Safety Commission compiled that some 43,880 injuries happened on decks and porches, which is more than eight times as many as on stairs, and that the number of deck failures and injuries has been increasing (see more in the May/June 2011 LBM Journal).
To help address this issue, AWC has developed Design for Code Acceptance No. 6 (DCA 6) Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide. DCA 6 includes guidance on provisions of the International Residential Code (IRC) pertaining to single level residential wood deck construction. Provisions contained in this document that are not included in the IRC are considered good practice recommendations. It is one of the more popular documents on the AWC website because it provides a safe pre-engineered solution for deck construction.
As part of Building Safety Month, AWC is hosting a free webinar on deck design and construction on May 30, which quickly filled; due to its popularity, a second one will be offered on June 26 (sign up today!). This course will provide an overview of DCA 6 along with its commentary and include several examples showing application of the deck guide.
ICC Building Safety Month Week 1: Fire Safety and a New Awareness
By Kuma Sumathipala
Despite a comparatively safety-conscious public mindset and numerous technological advances, the U.S. trails other developed nations in fire safety, at least as measured by per capita fire deaths. However, there have been tremendous improvements over the last few decades. Notably, in 1979, there were 36 fire deaths per million in the United States. By 2009, this number had fallen to 11 deaths per million - a 70 percent reduction.
Although the U.S. cannot rest until this number approaches zero, recognition for this reduction should be given to the fire safety community as a whole, especially because over that period use of new combustible materials such as upholstered furnishings and other plastic items increased exponentially in homes and offices, along with bigger structures and larger open spaces. However, efforts to better educate children about fire safety, modern construction methods with improved building codes, standards for appliance fire safety, and installation of occupant warning systems such as smoke alarms have all contributed to the improved performance.
In the past decade, the opportunity for incorporation of additional fire safety measures such as installation of automatic home sprinklers has become available. The benefits sprinklers provide as a last line of defense for fire safety are well established in commercial structures. However, less well understood is their cost-benefit in residential construction. While the substantial statistical reduction in fire deaths after 1980 has been achieved with little contribution from residential sprinklers, home buyers should always consider automatic sprinklers as an additional safety feature and for their own peace of mind. This is especially true for those in high-risk categories, such as smokers, who represented 15 percent of all fire deaths resulting from inappropriately discarded smoking materials.
The American Wood Council (AWC) is proud to have contributed to fire safety gains by developing and advocating for the adoption of fire safe construction that uses modern wood products. One example is a website and resources developed specifically for the fire service — www.woodaware.info — which provides information to the fire service on traditional and modern engineered wood products used in residential construction. These resources were developed under a cooperative agreement between the Department of Homeland Security's United States Fire Administration and AWC. Wood product training display cases were also developed as part of this agreement, providing industry products to enhance the building construction curriculum taught at our nation's many fire academies.
AWC presented a 4 hour seminar to 40 Virginia building officials and engineers on shear wall design comparing IRC braced wall provisions, the Wood Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) for One- and Two-Family Dwellings prescriptive and engineered provisions, WFCM High Wind Guides, and Special Design Provisions for Wind and Seismic.
Chuck Bajnai, code official in Chesterfield, VA and Chairman of the ICC Building Code Action Committee, wrote afterwards, "Thanks so much for your effort and handbooks for our shear wall class. Several attendees told me that your class took the mysteriousness out of 'shear walls.' For the majority of us plan reviewers who had no previous understanding of how the Wood Frame Construction Manual was broken down and how to use it, this was very enlightening."
TECO is sponsoring the winter term timber design class at the University of Minnesota. The 28 civil engineering students in a Senior-level course on Design of Wood Structures each received a complimentary copy of the code-recognized National Design Specification® for Wood Construction which is part of the Wood Design Package.
"Having an individual copy of the NDS® is critical to success in this course and the support of TECO and AWC for these students is much appreciated. This type of industry support of advanced education in timber engineering will be instrumental in expanding markets in non-residential construction and promoting the wise use and understanding of wood in engineered structures," stated Jerrold E. Winandy, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the Twin Cities Campus.
AWC provides complimentary desk copies of its standards to professors teaching timber engineering and architecture courses. Students also receive the AWC member discount on publications. Since 2003, AWC has annually distributed standards to an average of 55 professors and approximately 2,000 students. In 2012, standards went to 1,650 students at 67 universities. For more information on how your company can sponsor a timber engineering course, contact Lacey Merriman at 202-463-2766.
In May 1988, the first issue of Impact was published by AWC's predecessor, the National Forest Products Association (NFPA). Since this year marks the 25th anniversary of that newsletter, with each issue in 2013 we plan to include a flashback to those early years for a look at codes and standards then and now.
From the May 1988 inaugural issue of Impact:
NFPA Succeeds on Southern Wind Load Issue – The Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) Wind Design Committee held its first meeting April 12-13 in Birmingham, Ala., to review SBCCI staff work on a proposed standard for construction of one- and two-family dwellings in hurricane-prone areas. In 1986, the state of Florida granted SBCCI a contract to develop construction standards for buildings in high wind areas. NFPA [the National Forest Products Association] has opposed the excessively conservative standards, which have the potential to place wood frame construction in a less competitive position.
In response to the proposed standard, NFPA submitted its own version of the standard as a code change to be considered this summer. The NFPA version, including revised duration of wind load adjustment factors adopted by NFPA in 1987, is a reasonable approach for construction of cost-effective light frame wood buildings in high wind areas. In the meantime, SBCCI staff determined that industry review of the standard was appropriate, and established the Wind Design committee. The committee, made up of industry representatives and building officials, met in mid-April and NFPA was successful in gaining approval to incorporate its version into the proposed standard.
Nominations are being accepted through April 2, 2013 for the 2013 FPS Wood Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award. Sponsored by AWC, the award honors specific contributions to the discipline of wood engineering. These contributions must have a high potential for reaching the marketplace, if they have not done so already. Nominations of individuals, projects, or products/devices are acceptable. The annual 2013 awards will be presented at the Forest Products Society's 67th International Convention on June 9-11, 2013 in Austin, Texas.
To submit a nomination, go to http://www.forestprod.org/ic/wood_engineering_form.php.
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