In the last decade, North America has seen unprecedented growth in the homebuilding market, followed by an extraordinarily steep and brutal contraction. Somewhat obscured by the expansion and contraction of housing overall, a powerful trend has been gathering momentum, which has great potential to transform building practices. It stems from the desire on the part of people and companies to lessen their adverse impact on the environment.
This new environmentalism is more personal and pragmatic: people want solutions to environmental pressures that are convenient and affordable:
- End use customers prefer to live or conduct business in buildings that have a lighter environmental footprint.
- Elected officials at all levels of public administration are showing increasing public policy activism to meet this expectation on the part of voters.
- Many businesses are planning for an economy that prices carbon production and other environmental impacts, and want solutions that present financial advantages or avoid business risks.
These trends carry potentially major opportunities to substitute solid wood for alternative products, given that solid wood has compelling environmental credentials and is also a product that is convenient to use, affordable, and practical.
According to a report from Global Information Inc, the U.S. market for green building materials is forecasted to reach $31.4 billion in 2014 at a compound annual growth rate of 26.7%.
In 2009, the U.S. green building materials market was worth approximately $9.6 billion.
Structural materials make up the largest segment of the green building materials market. It is estimated that the structural materials sector was valued at $5.8 billion in 2009, but is forecasted to reach $21 billion in 2014.
The Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) has taken a leadership role in pursuing positive positioning of solid wood in green building and utilizes its ability to provide partial funding for initiatives to bring like-minded organizations and agencies together. Collaboration amongst these key organizations will ensure the development of a consistent message, enable broad dissemination of that message and leverage multiple funding sources. The BSLC will pursue initiatives that promote North American softwood lumber products as the ultimate “green” building material and part of the solution to climate change.