Volume 10, Issue 3 - March 2009

Energy and Environmental News

Fenestration Industry Voices Opinions Regarding Formaldehyde Emissions
During its January 29, 2009, public meeting, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) heard comments regarding its investigation into determining whether and what type of regulatory action may be appropriate to protect against risks posed by formaldehyde emitted from composite wood products. 

The meeting was in response to a petition asking the EPA to assess and reduce the risks posed by formaldehyde emissions from these products as well adopt and apply the California formaldehyde emissions regulation for composite wood products nationally, specifically hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard. 

Approximately 45 association and company representatives attended the meeting at the EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., in order to respond to the EPA’s request for comment on “Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products.” 

While most speakers acknowledged the importance of industry-wide regulation to ensure that formaldehyde emissions from composite wood are at the lowest levels possible, they also spoke of the hardships involved with implementing the formaldehyde emissions regulation that had been recently approved and implemented by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 

In addition, most speakers acknowledged adherence to the existing regulations set forth by CARB, and the overwhelming consensus was that while it would be a costly hardship to implement CARB on a national level, something was going to be needed in order to create a “level-playing field.” Numerous speakers spoke of their fear that, if not for a federal regulation, they may be undercut in price by foreign suppliers who may be able to offer composite wood products cheaper, since they would not have to upgrade their technologies in order to meet the strict emissions standards. “The same criteria should apply to domestic and international products,” argued Ray Garris of JELD-WEN Corp. 

AAMA’s codes and industry affairs manager Chuck Anderson argued against the EPA’s adoption of CARB on a national level, arguing that the regulations are unclear, that formaldehyde emissions from composite wood is relatively low and that any regulation would be difficult to enforce. Anderson argued that rather than adopt CARB, the EPA should instead develop a performance-based standard that has the objective of reducing human exposure to formaldehyde, regardless of the source of formaldehyde emissions. 
–Wendy Jozwiak 

ANSI Approves National Green Building Standard™ 
A National Green Building Standard™ for all residential construction work including single-family homes, apartments and condos, land development and remodeling and renovation that was developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) was approved on January 29 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

“The National Green Building Standard is now the first and only green building rating system approved by ANSI, making it the benchmark for green homes,” said Ron Jones, who chaired the consensus committee charged with developing the standard.

“The standard provides homebuilders and remodelers with a much more expansive third-party rating system that they can use to achieve green certification under NAHBGreen and the National Green Building Certification Program,” said Mike Luzier, CEO of the NAHB Research Center.

The Research Center provides certification for NAHBGreen projects, which until now have only included single-family homes.

As part of the ANSI process, NAHB and the International Code Council gathered an inclusive and representative consensus committee composed of a broad spectrum of builders, architects, product manufacturers, regulators and environmental experts. The work of the consensus committee was administered by the NAHB Research Center, an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer (see related story on page 8 about the role windows play in the standard).


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