Green Building Standards

Floor Speech

By:  Mark Pryor
Date: Dec. 5, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PRYOR. Mr. President, I would like to thank Senator Wicker for bringing attention to the need for the Department of Defense, and all Federal agencies, to include American-made wood products in green building standards and rating systems.

I would also like to express my continued support for Federal Government measures designed to spur the design and construction of high-performance green buildings.

However, I am concerned that discouraging certain wood building products and materials from use in Federal buildings because they do not comply with the LEED standard but are otherwise acceptable for U.S. building projects, may undermine the Federal Government's energy efficiency goals.

Wood products are among the most ``green'' of all building materials.

With the green building market estimated to reach as high as $140 billion by 2013, securing a strong place for wood is essential to the wood products industry's future growth.

Wood is an ideal green building material because it is renewable, stores carbon that reduces greenhouse gases, and is energy efficient.

There are several green building rating systems being used by Federal agencies and the private marketplace now, and the competition among these systems has resulted in improvements in all of the green building standards. Some of these rating systems recognize the benefits of American-made wood products in their scoring system.

It is important that the Department of Defense, General Services Administration and other Federal agencies ensure that multiple green building standards be considered for the design and construction of Federal buildings.

I believe the best approach is to permit the marketplace to decide which rating system is best suited for each project and Congress should encourage all of the rating systems to compete for government contracts.