Gov. Nathan Deal has issued an executive order that directs new or expanded state buildings to incorporate “Green Building” standards that give certification credits equally to forest products grown, manufactured and certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the American Tree Farm System and the Forest Stewardship Council.
“For the past 50 years, Georgia has led the nation in commercially available, private-owned timberlands and is a national leader in the growing and processing of wood construction materials,” said Deal. “The U.S. Green Council’s LEED rating system unfairly awards its wood certification credits only to products certified under one standard. Recognizing all forest certifications equally will promote sustainable forestry in our state and will help create thousands of jobs while maintaining our strong outdoor heritage.”
Georgia’s forestry industry, the second largest in the state, injects $23.8 billion and more than 108,000 jobs into its economy. Of the state’s 37 million acres of land, 24.8 million acres is forest land; 24.4 million of which is available for commercial use, more than any other state in the country.
The executive order also states that the design, construction, operation and maintenance of any existing state building to be renovated will incorporate “Green Building” standards in order to achieve significant energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
Deal joins Maine Gov. Paul LePage in the effort to equally certify the forests of North America.