SFI at the USGBC GreenBuild Expo

I’ve just returned from Boston, having spent a great day at the USGBC’s Green Build Expo.

This is the 5th year SFI has participated in the USGBC’s Green Build Expo, and over the years the SFI team has spent countless hours in the exhibit hall talking with architects, developers, and policy makers, among others, about sustainability, about the important role of forest certification, and about the evolution of green building.

It is clear to see there really is an evolution – not just for innovative products and building systems, but evolution in people’s environmental consciousness. Across the board, willingness to incorporate sustainability into our lives and adopt workable measures to protect the environment is increasing.

For example, since 2000, membership at the USGBC has more than tripled, and the market value of green building is projected to keep drastically rising as well. According to McGraw-Hill Construction, the green building market at comes in at around $12 billion value in 2008 and the report projects growth to $60 billion value by 2010.

For SFI we’ve seen double and triple digit growth across our program. We now have close to 150 million acres of land certified across North America, and over 320 Chain of Custody Certificates. For the year 2007, we calculated a 386% increase in CoC certificates, and with 2008 nearly over, I can assure you that momentum is strong!

The movement is clearly growing.

These programs and organizations themselves are changing too. For SFI, a clear example of how we reflect emerging public values and adapt to new information and science is our public review process which happens every five years. You can learn more about that on our site here: https://www.sfiprogram.org/standard-development-process.php

And as I am sure you all know, the USGBC is considering revising their system to recognize numerous forest certification programs, including SFI.

While we’ve participated in the USGBC show as exhibitors for a number of years, today I had the honor of addressing the crowd and introducing a long-time champion of green building, Architect Stefan Behnisch. The USGBC have posted a videostream of the session – you can watch it here: http://www.greenbuild365.org/GreenExpoVideoDetail.aspx?GreenExpoID=19

In addition to being the founding member of international design firm Behnisch Architekten and US-based Behnisch Architects, Mr. Behnisch has lectured at universities around the world. His approach to sustainable architecture is highly acknowledged in Europe and all over the world. He was recently deemed “Environmental Champion” by EnvironDesign Journal and Interiors & Sources and his buildings have been honored by prestigious institutions and industry organizations alike.

I was interested to read some of Stefan’s views on sustainability. In one interview, he said that sustainability is “not a miracle, or secret science, but is mostly common sense and a significant amount of work and effort.” He also said that architecture and environmental responsibility are eternally meshed and “all architects should be practicing responsibly.” I couldn’t agree more.


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Rob Olszewski Memorial Education Fund

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