A Closer Look at the Door Industry’s Role in Going Green
February 9, 2011
As the demand for green building materials and construction continues, so, too, does its impact on not just the design team, but the entire supply chain, including doors. As a means to help distributors understand where this green movement is coming from and what their responsibilities are, the Door Hardware Institute hosted a webinar recently. The presentation was lead by Tim Petersen, LEED AP, vice president of sales for the architectural door division of VT Industries Inc., and Steve Farley, CSI, CDT LEED GA, regional sales manager for Mohawk Flush Doors.
“The environmental direction in [the door industry] is constantly being discussed. The typical presentation is focused on what LEED point categories a particular product can assist a building in earning. In this presentation we took a more holistic view of the environmental situation by focusing on how we got here, where we are today and where the environmental movement is going,” Petersen told USGNN.com™. “The most unique aspect of this presentation is that it was given by Steve Farley and me. Steve and I work for different door manufacturers and are competitors. However because this topic is so important, we have put our product differences aside to give an unbiased unified presentation.”
During the webinar Petersen began the discussion and pointed out that the environmental movement will continue to make major changes so those in the industry need to know how to position themselves to sell green products.
He also gave a brief history of what’s behind the green movement and what’s really driving it. Drivers include the formation of Earth Day in 1970; the formulation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970; and later the formulation of the U.S. Green Building Council in 1997.
Petersen also stressed that buildings have had a huge impact, accounting for 40 percent energy use.
He also explained that the demand for green is coming from heightened government initiatives, as well as growing residential demand for green construction and improvements in sustainable materials.
Looking at the projected green building market value, Petersen showed that the commercial and institutional value in 2006 was $4 billion growing to $10- $20 billion in 2010.
“These are big numbers and real opportunities for anyone in the industry and you don’t want to pass up on an opportunity like that,” he said.
Farley spoke next and talked about some of the different green programs, standards and codes.
“We’re seeing that many programs are voluntary. However, as they grow it becomes evident to most of us there’s a major part of the market we’re missing by not taking part in them,” said Farley. “Voluntary standards are being adopted into building codes and becoming requirements,” he said, explaining that we’re seeing adoption of various green building initiatives by the federal, state and local levels.
“It’s interesting to see how rapidly they are being updated; what was once voluntary is now mandatory,” he said.
Some mandatory requirements that have had an impact on the door industry include those of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which introduced a phased reduction in the allowable limits for composite wood formaldehyde VOC limits, and the 1900 Lacey Act, which was amended in 2008.
Speaking of CARB, Farley explained that the organization approved new standards for the emission of formaldehyde from composite wood products in 2007, likely leading to the elimination of urea-formaldehyde. This affects hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard. Farley noted this will require inventory management for [door] distributors, fabricators and retailers as they must sell [certain pre-program] inventory by December, 31 of this year.
Farley also discussed the Lacey Act. Originally written in 1900, amended legislation was passed by Congress in May 2008 and bans commerce in illegally sourced plants and their bi-products, including timber and wood products.
“It will help to control legal logging and other illegal plant trade,” Farley said.
In addition, it prohibits trade in plant and plant bi-products that are illegally sourced from any U.S. state or any foreign country; requires importers to declare the country of origin of harvest and species name of all plants contained in their products; and establishes penalties for violation of the Act, including forfeiture of goods and vessels, fines and jail time.
Looking ahead, he added, that green is a current and future reality.
“Keep an eye on it and stay aware,” said Farley. “Enforcement will become much more prevalent; take a look at how and where you can add value to a project.