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Housing starts top 1 million for 1st time in 7 years
For Construction Pros
Overall housing starts topped one million units last year for the first time since 2007. Single-family construction nationwide gained 7.2 percent giving rise to optimism for 2015. A new report by the National Association of Homebuilders claims that 66 percent of millennials seek roots in the suburbs disputing reports over preferred urban housing which boasts better transportation but is a trade-off for smaller quarters.
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Organizational Member Spotlight: American Wood Council
The following is an Organizational Member Spotlight on the American Wood Council. Find out more about the American Wood Council here.
For more information about FPS Organizational Membership, please contact Craig McKinney via email, or call 1-770-209-7294.
Biomass generation with CCS could deliver carbon-negative energy
Generating electricity from biomass, such as urban waste and sustainably-sourced forest and crop residues, is one strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, because it is carbon-neutral: it produces as much carbon as the plants suck out of the atmosphere.
A new University of California, Berkeley, study shows that if biomass electricity production is combined with carbon capture and sequestration in the western U.S., power generators could actually store more carbon than they emit and make a critical contribution to an overall zero-carbon future by the second half of the 21st century.
Sawlog prices fell throughout North America due to reduced lumber production and slowing log exports to Asia
A noticeable decrease in log exports from the western U.S. and lower production in the sawmilling sector resulted in declining prices for domestically consumed Douglas-fir and hemlock sawlogs for the second straight quarter in the third quarter. Despite the price declines during the latter half of 2014, the average log prices for the year were among the highest over the past decade.
A biofuel debate: Will cutting trees cut carbon?
The New York Times
Does combating climate change require burning the world’s forests and crops for fuel?
It certainly looks that way, judging from the aggressive mandates governments across the globe have set to incorporate bioenergy into their transportation fuels in the hope of limiting the world’s overwhelming dependence on gasoline and diesel to move people and goods.
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Construction employment bolsters US jobs report for January
The U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs in January, bolstered in large part by the creation of 39,000 positions in construction, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently. Only the retail sector added more jobs than construction, the government said.
Biomass requirements to be included in new green building standard
ASHRAE, U.S. Green Building Council and the Illuminating Engineering Society are exploring the development of biomass requirements for inclusion in their co-sponsored green building standard. The Standard contains minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high-performance green buildings in support of reducing building energy, resource consumption and other environmental impacts.
Indian scientists turn coconut oil into biofuel
Scientists who have been running the four-stroke diesel engine of a light pick-up truck on coconut oil for the past one year have approached the union government to commercialize the biofuel.
The scientists are attached to the Kochi-based SCMS Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology Research and Development and the SCMS School of Engineering and Technology.
What to look out for in construction contracts
By Nate Budde
Construction contracts are often lengthy and complicated documents. Despite the fact that these agreements form the foundation for the relationship between the signing parties, the fact that they are so voluminous means that they are rarely thoroughly examined. Since attorneys are expensive, and not every construction industry participant has in-house counsel, construction participants can help themselves by knowing some of the key things that they may wish to look out for.
Study shows value of combining solar thermal energy with biomass gasification to produce natural gas substitute
Even at historically low natural gas prices, bioenergy may not be out of the running — it just may need a little help from the sun. A new study from researchers at the University of Minnesota examining the financial viability of solar-heated biomass gasification technologies that produce a natural gas substitute product concludes that combining these renewable resources can make economic sense.
US construction output grows 5.6 percent
U.S. construction output totaled $961 billion in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This was a +5.6 percent increase on 2013, and the highest the figure has been since 2008.
The main area of growth last year was the private non-residential market, which was up +5.3 percent year-on-year.
It's time to overhaul the ethanol requirement for fuel
When President Jimmy Carter signed the Biomass Energy and Alcohol Fuels Act of 1980, U.S. oil production was down, memories of the OPEC oil embargo were fresh and American farmers needed a helping hand.
Blending ethanol into gasoline seemed like a way to address several problems at once.
Southern forests' ability to suck carbon from the air may be slowing
Insideclimate News via Phys.Org
When U.S. Forest Service scientist David Wear hikes the trails crisscrossing the Appalachian Mountains, he pauses to revel not only in the beauty and solitude, but also to consider the remarkable role that the forest around him plays in the world's environment.
"A walk in the woods is as much recreation as intellectual stimulation for me," Wear said. "I see questions about what's happening in the changing dynamics of the forests."
Still waiting for a 2014 EPA mandate on biofuel — in 2015
Watchdog.org via Newsmax.com
It seems to be another one of those "only in Washington" kind of things.
Diesel refiners across the country are waiting for direction from the federal government to determine their biofuel requirements for 2014. But this is 2015, right?
Spruce beetle hits more Colorado forests; pine beetle slows
The Associated Press via CBS4-TV
One type of tree-killing beetle is attacking Colorado forests at a faster pace, but another is slowing down, mostly because it’s running out of live trees to infest, officials said recently.
The twin epidemics of mountain pine beetles and spruce beetles have struck a total of 7,500 square miles of forests in Colorado since 1996, leaving large swaths a dull, rusty brown.
Mobile safety regulations app
For Construction Pros
The Mobile Safety Solutions mobile app is a free app that includes the full text of the OSHA regulations for General Industry and Construction. The app contains new and useful features to improve guidance to all compliance needs without books or an Internet connection.
Family forests: A key piece of protecting critical forestland
The Huffington Post
Anyone who has ever put together a puzzle has had this experience: you're in the home stretch, and you reach for the last piece you need to finally finish, only it's not there. You look everywhere, stewing in frustration as you think about what could have happened to it. "Maybe it got lost. Did I vacuum it up?" Regardless of the cause, your puzzle can never be complete, and all the time you spent working on the rest of it feels like it's been for naught.
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