Saturday, September 8, 2007

Learning more about Sustainable Forests

Today, I had the pleasure of chatting with Don Haugan of Certified WoodProducts, Inc. He gave me the mini seminar about why Northern Minnesota Forests struggles with providing wood for Green Homes in Minnesota. It turns out that during the turn of the century (1800's) we took the "cream dela cream" of the white and red pines leaving only the old and crotchety for breeding stock. As a result, while we have FSC forests we only have wood such as the fast growing aspens and balsam. Which over time was determined good for paper and not building and thus we created the paper industry that exists in Northern Minnesota in lieu of good quality building material woods. As Don put it, we can drive fast (quickly grow FSC low grade wood), but it's how good we are at driving fast that matters, (growing higher grade wood sustainably). Thus getting FSC framing lumber is a tough to do in these parts. However, we do have a reasonably good source for interior finish material wood, such as birch or basswood. He encouraged me to think ahead and find the basswood source that can be milled and dried for use at alater date.
He is a great supporter of the cause and took the plunge to start a company that provides the sustainable product that we are striving to encourage our industry to demand. His company began in 2001 and is doing well, he has completed over 200 LEED homes as of this posting. He was a wealth of information and willing to think creatively regarding meeting the spirit of LEED and going beyond to make it even better.

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