Going Green

The entire concept of GREEN has not only taken the wood products industry, but the entire world by storm.  Being "enviromentally friendly" and focusing on "green building" are two catchphrases that have gained impact, recogniton, and consciousness in today's educated society.  Bear Forest Products recognizes the further need for knowledge and source of supply for these GREEN products. We strongly believe in the idea of quality products at competitive prices being readliy available to our valuable customer base. We now strive to create more value to our customer base by being a resource of material, and more importantly a resource of information regarding the GREEN intitiatives we are all now involved with.

Why Build Green?

There are many financial, enviromental, and social reasons for building GREEN. Annually, GREEN buildings save an average of:

  • 40% of water consumption

  • 30% of energy usage

  • 50-75% in construction and demolition waste

  • $58 billion in employee sick time

  • $180 billion in increased worker productivity

The benefits of GREEN building conribute to the protection of our ecosystem, by improving air quality and conserving natural resources. GREEN constructed building are not only less strenuous on the enviroment, but they are also durable, comfortable, and increase resale value, making them excellent investments.

The Leadership in Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System
was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1998. LEED establishes
standards and benchmarks for environmentally sustainable construction. The
technical criteria used to establish these benchmarks are developed by LEED
committees, and are reviewed for approval by the member organizations that
currently encompass the U.S. Green Building Council. By having member
organizations actively participate in the endorsement of LEED criteria, LEED
remains a public-forum, open to change and improvement.

The LEED Green Building Rating System was created to accomplish the following:

  • Establish a common standard of measurement for GREEN building.

  • Promote integrated, whole-building design practices

  • Recognize environmental leadership in the building industry

  • Stimulate GREEN competition

  • Raise consumer awareness of GREEN building benefits

  • Transform the building industry

Since its inception, LEED has grown from a small-scale criterion on GREEN
building into a more complete, six-tiered system of standards encompassing all
areas of the development and construction process. These standards include:

  1. Sustainable Sites

  2. Water Efficiency

  3. Energy and Atmosphere

  4. Materials and Resources

  5. Indoor Environmental Quality

  6. Innovation and Design Process

LEED certification is granted when the builder or architect submits an application to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), documenting their compliance with the LEED rating system. The LEED Green Building Rating system is made up of points. Similar to the Model Green Home Building Guidelines, LEED certification is granted in award levels, determined by the total number of accumulated points. These award levels include:

Certified (26-32); Silver (33-38); Gold (39-51); Platinum (52-69).

The LEED Green Building Rating System does not award points to any individual product. Instead, the cumulative environmental benefits of multiple products used in a given project, collectively contribute to earning LEED points. Currently, LEED criteria only recognizes wood certified through the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) governing body.

LEED building projects are investments that promote healthier living and working environments by conserving natural resources, reducing waste and energy consumption, and optimizing efficiency. In comparison to conventional building, the costs involved in GREEN construction are higher. However, federal grants and tax incentives are available for LEED building projects.

Currently LEED is focused on commercial building and multi-family, low income housing. The LEED Residential Construction Standards are being developed and anticipate completion in 2009.