What exactly does it mean to be green?

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By Belinda Remley, Lonza Wood Protection

Going green. We hear that a lot these days. As a matter of fact, being green is not a novel concept, just a new spin on a very good idea. For decades, we have been encouraged by our parents, our teachers, our employers, our government to be good stewards of our environment—to be green. We are more responsible people if we are green. Food and other products just seem to be better if they are promoted as being green.

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But, what does it really mean to be green?

According to internet gurus, going green covers many avenues, but a few include: reducing, reusing and recycling; not littering; living sustainably; conserving energy and materials; being carbon neutral; growing crops organically; and the currently very popular lifestyle of  ‘living off the grid’. Being green has been expanded to include fair trade sourcing and ethical production.

Actually being green. “We all have grown up with the notion of being green and caring for our environment,” says Juliana Rumbaugh, Marketing Communications Manager for Lonza Wood Protection. “But when you are in the wood industry either as a farmer, a sawmill, a treater, or a dealer, being green takes on a different level of commitment beyond simply separating your recycling from your other refuse.

“Wood is the most renewable resource in the building industry,” Juliana adds, “which is why we refer to it as ‘nature’s sustainable building block.’ It is, in itself a green product that is grown and harvested from managed forestlands.

“Studies show that contractors and builders understand that preserved wood is an excellent building material that offers the flexibility and functionality of real wood but with active ingredients designed to enhance its longevity,” explains Juliana. “Plus, preserved wood is much more affordable than alternative outdoor building products. ”

Communicating green. Lonza has worked hard to help debunk misconceptions about the stewardship of wood, such as the idea that whole forests are being cleared to source wood for construction.

“Over the past few years, Lonza has developed several programs such as our Why Wood campaign to help educate dealers, contractors, and consumers about the sustainability and workability of wood as well as the abundance of forest lands and how through the whole process from tree to treated wood everything is used or recycled,” says Juliana.

Certifying green. In another effort to educate consumers how committed the pressure-treating industry is to the environment, preservative manufacturers have teamed with treaters to adopt green certifications for their products that are then promoted through advertising, point of purchase materials, and posted on their websites.

“We have submitted wood treated with our preservatives to environmental certifying  bodies who perform extensive testing to see if the wood meets the stringent requirements used to define green, or environmentally friendly products,” says Juliana. “There are several choices for green certifications for the treated wood industry and each company partners with the certification that best suits its finished product.”

Each sustainability certification has established standards that are imposed voluntarily and help consumers understand that the treated wood products have gone through a third-party verification process.

Lonza green certifications are Ecospecifier and NGBS Green Certified. Wolmanized® Outdoor® Wood is verified as an Ecospecifier eco-preferred, healthy product. This program guarantees that all key manufacturer health and environmental claims are third-party verified and assessed in a rigorous, scientific manner using a Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) analysis.

Additionally, Wolmanized® Outdoor® Wood is certified by Home Innovation Research Labs as meeting requirements for termite-resistant materials in the National Green Building Standard™. In this strict program Lonza was required to provide appropriate third-party evidence to Home Innovation Research Labs proving that their products meet the criteria for recognition.

“In an effort to educate consumers about the environmental benefits of treated wood, Lonza promotes the certifications it has earned by using the Home Innovation and Ecospecifer logos on its printed collateral as well on its website and social media. We use the logos earned from our green certifications as another reminder that we are good stewards of the environment,” says Juliana. “We want retailers and dealers, contractors and consumers to see how we value responsibly using our natural resources.”

Naturally green. In an industry dedicated to being responsible in the care and use of our natural resources as well as in the creation of our products, it is necessary to offer certification reminders of just how green we are—naturally.

Belinda Remley is a Marketing Communications Professional for Lonza Wood Protection. She has been promoting the use of wood products—especially treated wood—for more than 26 years.

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