Once again, there is discussion in the U.S. Green Building Council (“USGBC”) to allow other wood certifying organizations to have a place within the LEED guidelines for green construction. The new Pilot Credit 43 [PDF] for certified products would allow several wood certifications — e.g., Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, American Tree Farm — to contribute to a point under the trial credit.
A new paint technology from Sherwin-Williams has received an innovation award from the Environmental Protection Agency this week. The company’s Water-Based Acrylic Alkyd Technology, or WBAAT, is being awarded a 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the Designing Greener Chemicals category. The paint uses soybean oil and recycled PET plastic bottles to replace oil typically used in alkyd paint and, in doing so, reduces VOCs in the paint by 60%.
New possibilities with plywood are possible with Corelam, a Canadian manufactured “multi-use corrugated veneer plywood panel product” which we noticed recently at the industrial design site Core77 (no relation to Corelam despite the similar name). The distinctive corrugated wood panels are made with FSC wood and adhesives that do not off-gas formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds.
The most important job for a ventilation fan, particularly in a well-sealed home, is to exhaust the excess moisture from the air. Moisture needs to be kept from building up indoors to keep the interior environment comfortable. To help with this, Panasonic is introducing a new series of WhisperSense fans with dual sensors which will be available starting in June 2011.
If you want to use wood in an exterior application, your options are wider than ever. While durable tropical hardwoods have been decimated by unsustainable logging, there are several methods of preserving wood that produce even more durable and sustainable products. These are not woods infused with toxic chemicals or metal compounds that can leach out. Rather these woods are transformed to be more durable and decay resistant.
While green homes often sport all manner of technical solutions to keep them optimized and efficient, the landscaping can have a significant effect on the building and its energy use. Site orientation and landscape can also be powerful tools to control the energy needs of a building. While it’s not practical to reorient most homes, in many cases you can still make improvements by planting trees.