The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) will conduct a series of interviews with various members and experts in the coming months. The first is with Bill Hayward, president, CEO, and chief sustainability officer of Hayward Lumber in Monterey, Calif. Hayward discussed green building and the impact dealers can have on this important initiative.
NLBMDA: Green building has been around for some time, yet industry interest is on the increase. Why?
Hayward: For a practice that is fairly mature, green building definitely saw a surge of interest in 2007. There are several factors, including the industry's traditional position of responding to customer demand. Interest was always present. However, the message of green building was often diluted as it went through the various groups in the supply chain. Currently, the industry is reacting to heightened interest in environmental sustainability, and that is showing up in green building practices and products.
At the 2007 Academy Awards, Al Gore received an Oscar for the documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. As with politics, the Hollywood buzz has a cultural impact. Add in rising gas prices, and you have accelerated interest in reducing the environmental footprint and increasing energy efficiency. The result: renewed and aggressive demands for green products, including green building.
NLBMDA: What is the role of the dealer in green building?
Hayward: The fundamental role of the dealer is to facilitate builder requests, so that builders can be responsive to their customers. Better-quality homes provide clean, healthy indoor air and use less energy. Building homes to those specifications require green building practices. This has meant an industry shift from code-based to performance-based decisions.
Green building is a tremendous opportunity for our industry to take the lead by identifying the needed building techniques, providing education on applications, and supplying appropriate products. As a group, we need to educate ourselves, and then our customers, on how we can provide products and services to support local green building standards. It's simply good business to anticipate and fulfill the growing demand for green building products.
NLBMDA: How can dealers communicate the details of green building to their customers?
Hayward: We need to educate our employees on the products and applications, as well as educate our customers so that we can best meet their needs. Online information is accessible, and other resources, including expert speakers, are available to those dealers interested in becoming leaders in green building practices. In addition, many industry conferences focus on green building and provide educational forums for builders and dealers alike.
NLBMDA: Another aspect of green building is the environmental footprint left by builders and dealers. How can dealers provide leadership in this area?
Hayward: There is a global impact to the building industry. Tile, stone, wood, and other materials are sourced from around the world. Reducing the environmental footprint requires minimizing excess waste, recycling, local sourcing, and more. Consider the fact that Brazil, Southeast Asia, and Russia share a similar statistic: approximately 70% of the wood is illegally harvested. Dealers can lead by making purchasing decisions with low environmental impact, including sourcing wood from verified sustainable, well-managed forests. Focusing on environmentally sound practices lets our industry have a positive global impact.
NLBMDA: What does the future hold for the industry and green building?
Hayward: This industry has a history of giving back to its community. Now, there is a compelling economic reason to embrace green building and find the opportunities within it for business growth. It is the right thing to do for each of us to take a leadership role for the industry and for our respective companies.
NLBMDA Advances Responsible Environmental Policies To Protect Timber Products
While building material dealers today stock a wider assortment of products than ever, the industry continues to move a significant amount of raw lumber and other wood products. Dealers have a vested interest in ensuring these products are produced in sustainable forests, but the industry also must monitor environmental regulations that could reduce the availability of essential wood products that U.S. customers demand.
Accordingly, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) has an important role in working with our supplier partners, domestic and imported, to advocate for effective and responsible environmental policies that would ensure continued availability of these products.
In the past, NLBMDA has supported legislative efforts such as the Healthy Forests Initiative of 2001, which provided additional resources for forest fire recovery and public forest management. NLBMDA continues to work with allies in the American Forest & Paper Association to promote domestic forest health and recovery funding.
Last fall, NLBMDA participated in a lobbying effort to address illegal logging overseas. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) proposed legislation to criminalize the import of illegally harvested timber products. While NLBMDA and allies at the International Wood Products Association agreed with the objective?and unequivocally oppose illegal logging in the United States or abroad?we noticed that portions of the language were overly broad, possibly exposing lumber dealers to liability even where they had no way of knowing that products in their possession had been made with illegally harvested material.
NLBMDA worked with allies on Capitol Hill, the bill sponsors, domestic producers, and leading environmental organizations to revise the language to ensure an "innocent owner" protection for lumber dealers and other users of imported wood products. Once these changes were made, NLBMDA could sign on as a supporter of the bill and work with new allies to solicit congressional support and passage of the legislation.
NLBMDA also has a legislative role to play in the green building arena. While many efforts begin at the local and state levels, there are also federal efforts to mandate LEED-only green building codes for federally funded projects. The majority of domestic forests are certified under green building standards, yet LEED awards credits only for Forest Stewardship Council-certified products, which are not readily available in all markets.
NLBMDA believes there should be multiple certifications to maximize dealer ability to supply new green homes. NLBMDA is working with industry allies to build awareness of the shortsightedness of endorsing only one green building standard, and encourages legislators to support policies that allow and support the continued growth of all credible green programs.
To stay apprised of the latest environmental legislation NLBMDA is tracking on Capitol Hill, visit www.buildthevote.org. Here you can find position papers on key issues, and tools to contact your federal elected officials. For more information, contact Colleen Levine at email@example.com or 800.634.8645.
Mark Your Calendar for NLBMDA's 2008 Legislative Conference
Make your voice heard on Capitol Hill by joining your colleagues at the 2008 Legislative Conference, March 31-April 2, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington. The conference will include a new Green Building Forum March 31. For 2008, the Innocent Sellers Fairness Act (H.R. 989) continues to be a top priority for NLBMDA. Your discussions with legislators are essential to successfully convey how this bill will protect dealers against predatory lawsuits. Support your industry by advocating on this issue and others this spring. Conference agenda items include: Briefings from key policymakers and analysis from industry experts Special sessions to give you with key talking points for your Capitol Hill visits Opportunities to connect with fellow dealers and legislators at the popular LuDPAC event and auction. Hotel reservations must be made by March 9 to receive the special NLBMDA group rate of $289. Call the Ritz-Carlton at 800.558.9994 or 202.835.0500, and mention the NLBMDA Legislative Conference to receive the special rate. We look forward to seeing you at the conference! For additional details, visit www.dealer.org.