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American Fence Association

More choices are now available to landscapers as they choose the right fence and deck materials for their residential and commercial projects. While traditional materials such as wood, ornamental iron and aluminum, and color-coated chain-link are still popular, other materials are making inroads into the fence and deck industry.

Vinyl, which has become enormously popular as a fencing material, has gained even more market share with new privacy fence styles, and vinyl decking is doing well, too. New innovations include more color options than the traditional white. Composite lumber, which combines wood and plastic to create a long-lasting, rot-resistant building material, has been used in decking for a while, and is now entering the fence market, as well. Both vinyl and composite fence and deck products retain their beauty with very little maintenance.

A new chemical for pressure treating pine and other soft lumber is under development. The new product, called MicroPro(TM) Smart Sense, can replace ACQ and ensure treated wood looks more natural. It also offers improved protection against protection. Cedar and redwood tints will be available.

While designing landscapes for high security industrial and commercial sites, a number of new, more attractive and secure options are available in welded and ornamental styles as well.

Landscape contractors and others can learn more about these and thousands of other new products to integrate into their landscape plans at Fencetech/Decktech '07 in Orlando, Fla. Featuring 28 categories of products including vinyl and composites, and accessories such as post caps and access control, 400 exhibitors will showcase their new technologies and products during the event, which runs Jan. 31 through Feb. 2.

For more information, visit or call (800) 822-4342.

Brick Industry Association (BIA)

Clay bricks are a durable and classic product that can be incorporated into buildings or used in walls or as pavers. The familiar orange-red brick is employed across the globe--here in Bolivia.

According to the Brick Industry Association's (BIA) Annual Sales and Marketing Report, manufacturers of clay pavers sold more than 200 million clay paving units in 2005, the most recent year with data available. This means that more clay pavers were sold in 2005 than ever before. We estimate that over 80% of the pavers were used for residential applications and the remainder for non-residential applications. Our research indicates that more than 50% of all clay pavers are used for walkway and patio applications for both residential and non-residential projects. In BIA's opinion, there are several key reasons that are spurring this growth.

First, the market for all segmental paving products, including genuine clay pavers, is growing significantly. In fact, the segmental paving market has more than doubled since 1998, and BIA estimates that it will continue to grow at a rapid rate for the next few years. On the residential side, the homebuilding and remodeling industry has seen robust activity for many years (even accounting for the recent correction), and the non-residential side has seen an increase in mixed-use development and the revitalization of central business districts.

Second, more and more installers, landscape architects and homeowners are selecting genuine clay pavers because of clay pavers' superior performance attributes. From an aesthetic standpoint, clay pavers provide unmatched warmth and beauty.

Finally, BIA and members of the brick industry are continually working to make it easier for landscape architects, designers, contractors and homeowners to use clay pavers. Through BIA's clay paver website, users will find a wealth of information about specifying and using clay pavers, including:
? Free downloads of informational brochures and presentations, including one entitled "Building with Genuine Clay Pavers"
? Selected case studies, including one for an "enabling garden" designed for people of all abilities.
? Listings of clay paver manufacturers located throughout the United States
? A link to BIA's member directory that connects users to distributors and manufacturers in their area.
? Technical Notes on Brick Construction that pertain specifically to clay pavers
? Information on how to enter the landscape architecture and paving categories for our 2007 Brick In Homebuilding and 2007 Brick In Architecture Awards programs.

Erosion Control Technology Council (ECTC)

By Tim Lancaster, Chairman

During 2006 ECTC continued its focus on developing and disseminating educational materials and information for the erosion and sediment control industry. ECTC has been involved in educational webinars, conducted training courses and produced instructional videos to provide landscape designers and contractors with guidance in proper rolled erosion control product (RECP) installation. One of the most requested tools ECTC has made available is a training video on effective RECP installation in slope and channel applications.

ECTC sees the market for erosion and sediment control products and services growing in 2007 and the coming years. As more and more fines are levied against companies like Walmart and various home builders, compliance with stormwater regulations has become an absolute necessity. NPDES phase II mandates that whenever one acre or more of land is disturbed, a stormwater permit must be granted prior to the start of construction. The stormwater permit must contain a plan to control erosion and runoff from the construction site. The best management practices employed, implementation of the plan, maintenance of the project site, inspection schedule and corrective actions must all be documented and records made available for inspectors. The EPA has been vigorously enforcing compliance and the cost of non-compliance is too high to ignore. Fines, remediation and in some cases, even jail sentences for owners who don't comply are becoming more frequent. All indications are that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.

ECTC's immediate plans are to broaden its educational and standardization scope to include other erosion and sediment control products and technologies. This initiative is moving ahead and will be fully implemented in 2007. The organization will continue along the educational vein developing more training tools and programs to assist the construction industry in effectively using erosion and sediment control products to meet the growing demand for these materials.


Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI)

By Rali Mileva,

A range of interlocking concrete products exist for use in decorative and structural retaining walls. Photo by Erik Skindrud

Now working their way into local development regulations, low impact development (LID) approaches are spreading quickly across the U.S. Their adoption represents a shift away from stormwater detention/retention to working with natural processes in land development that decrease pollution and related public costs. An increasing number of cities embrace LID as they no longer can continue to bear rising costs of managing stormwater runoff and energy-related urban heat island costs from an ever-expanding area of impervious cover---roofs, parking lots and streets. On-site infiltration is a LID pillar that helps restore groundwater recharge for thirsty cities, reduce property loss from downstream erosion and flooding, and create cooler, more-energy efficient, livable cities. Site-scale LID infiltration technologies that mimic natural process present some of the most cost-effective approaches.

Besides LID approaches, recent national and state legislation mandates the reduction of stormwater runoff and water pollution through best management practices (BMPs). Such practices can include street sweeping, detention ponds, green roofs, bioswales and permeable surfaces like Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement (PICP). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated PICP as a BMP and an increasing number of states have adopted this technology into their design manuals used by localities as guidance for compliance with the Clean Water Act and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations. An increasing number of cities restrict impervious cover and PICP is moving to the front as a means to satisfy local regulations. Older cities are looking at PICP as a way to reduce combined sewer overflows, i.e., storm and sanitary sewer discharges into rivers and lakes when rainstorms exceed waste treatment plant capacities.

International Erosion Control Association (IECA)

A mechanical silt fence installer is one of many techniques and methods demonstrated at the IECA's outdoor events. To learn more about the association's training programs, visit Photos courtesy of the IECA

The International Erosion Control Association (IECA) has announced the election of three new members to its 2007 Board of Directors. Claudia Chambers, CPESC, CIT, Mark Hunter, PE, and John McCullah, CPESC, begin their terms in February.

Chambers, Hunter and McCullah bring over 65 years of combined experience in the erosion and sediment control field representing contractors, government agencies and educators. Each member also has been actively involved with IECA for over a decade. They will join Michael Chase, CPESC, Julie Etra, CPESC, Ron Faucher, CPESC, Becky Gauthier, Lee Johnson, CPESC, and Tom Williams, CPESC in determining the future of the association.

Chambers, co-owner of Kelley Erosion Control based in Reno, Nev., will draw on her experience as past treasurer of the association's Western Chapter Board of Directors. In addition to the Western Chapter, she is also a member of the association's southeast chapter. After losing a home in Waveland, Miss. to Hurricane Katrina, Chambers and her husband, Rod, are using their erosion control contracting background to test different products and applications to find ways to re-establish vegetation in the area without the need for irrigation and equipment.

Hunter is a manager of the Design, Construction and Maintenance Program at the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District in Denver, Colo. As a founding member of IECA's Mountain States Chapter, he has served on the Chapter's Board of Directors as well as many IECA committees including the Bylaws Committee, the Technical Paper Review Committee, the Standards Committee and the Awards Committee. Outside of IECA, Hunter is on the Board of Directors for the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District which provides wastewater treatment and biosolids disposal for most of Denver.

John McCullah, McCullah, of Salix Applied Earthcare, is known in the industry for his "Dirt Time" series of educational training videos.

McCullah, owner of Salix Applied Earthcare, has been re-elected to the Board seat he has held since 2003. As the current Marketing Vice President on the Board, McCullah has served on a variety of IECA committees including: Foundation Committee; Professional Development Committee; Business Plan Committee and the Market Study Task Force. Known in the industry for his "Dirt Time" series of educational training videos, he also is a regular instructor at IECA educational events and seminars.

More information:

International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)

By Eric Duchinsky, ISA Director of Membership/PR/Conferences

The International Society of Arboriculture enjoys a rich history spanning 82 years. With the help of landscape and all other green professionals, exciting times are here and ISA is planning for the future. Here are a handful of recent and on-going programs bringing pride to the members of ISA.

"Trees Are Good" illustrates the benefits of trees in the urban landscape for the general public. As a resource to all green professions, serves to educate and help the public acquire an understanding of the importance and value of proper tree care.

As part of the Gulf Coast Tree Assessment (GCTA) Project, ISA recruited arborists and donated resources to volunteers traveling to Mississippi and Louisiana. Volunteers worked in teams assessing storm damaged trees as well as developing treatment and rebuilding plans.

GCTA volunteers looked for trees that could be saved, offered suggestions to bring those trees back to full health, and helped develop replacement plans for those trees that were lost. The project was organized through a collaborative effort involving several government agencies as well as community and non-profit organizations. As part of the GCTA, ISA helped to:

o bring 35 volunteers from around the world
o participate in 2,174 volunteer hours
o assist more than 20 participating organizations
o directly affect 110,000 people
o assist 10 communities
o assess 7,175 trees

ISA has also become part of the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC) which is a national coalition to advance a unified urban forest agenda for our nation's communities.

National Lighting Bureau

Skilled employees are one of the most important components of a successful lighting business. Photo by Erik Skindrud

It's been a watershed year for the National Lighting Bureau, for several reasons, one of which could have a significant impact on any landscape architect who is capable of designing an effective landscape lighting system.

The most significant occurrence was, arguable, the Bureau's 30th anniversary. The organization was founded in 1976 to help facility and process owners and managers make informed decisions about their lighting. At the time, all too many were taking ill-advised, knee-jerk measures in response to the rapid rise in energy costs that occurred after the OPEC nations' petroleum embargo. In one well-known case, a well-intentioned manager removed half the lights in a Social Security Administration data-processing center, lowering lighting energy consumption by almost half. Unfortunately, workers could not see as well, slowing down their work and causing errors. As a result, productivity fell by 28 percent and it did not return to normal until the manager restored the lighting. Lesson learned: Every dollar of energy saved cost about $200 in productivity lost.

The Bureau today is sponsored by professional societies, trade associations, manufacturers, agencies of the federal government, utilities, and other, all working to - pardon the pun - shed light on High-Benefit Lighting, that is, efficient lighting designer to optimize human performance, health, safety, and commerce.

Landscape lighting becomes High-Benefit Lighting when it is designed to accomplish everything it can. Yes, it can beautify. It can also direct people where to walk. It can also provide safety and security, by eliminating unwanted shadows and otherwise providing the visibility that those up to no good don't want.

For 2007, the Bureau will keep on keeping on, with the goal of continually trying to educate those with a need to know about the value of High-Benefit Lighting and how quickly it can pay for itself when those who design it know what they are doing. Do you? If so go to and let others know about your capabilities.

Portland Cement Association

Although many regional markets throughout the U.S. experienced strong cement consumption growth earlier this year, a new forecast from the Economic Research department at Portland Cement Association (PCA) expects the near-term future to be quite different.

In the state-by-state forecast presented at PCA Committee meetings in Chicago, chief economist Ed Sullivan predicted that the emerging weakness in residential construction will dissipate the strong growth recorded earlier in the year in many regional markets.

"In July, 24 states showed significant declines in housing permit activity, including traditionally strong markets such as Nevada, Florida, and Arizona," Sullivan said. "I do not believe these declines will be temporary."

Year-to-date, U.S. cement use is up 5.6 percent over 2005 levels. PCA's summer projections indicated that second-half weakness in residential would push the 2006 growth rate to 2.3 percent and to 1.2 percent in 2007.

Led by an expected 8.5 percent growth in China, world-wide Portland cement consumption will increase 5.6 percent this year followed by a rise of 5.5 percent in 2007--an average of nearly 130 million metric tons annually.

"The major developed economies like the U.S. and Western Europe have generally performed well," PCA Chief Economist Ed Sullivan said.

Sullivan predicts the world economy will increase 2.9 percent 2007.

Growth in cement consumption is expected to be in par with estimates for planned capacity expansions and paralleling usage, most expansions and plant updates will occur in China.

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI)

From Kathy Mathers,

A liquid fertilizer caddy is an easy way to bring quick-acting liquid fertilizer to annual bloom beds. The price of most types of fertilizer has been rising in recent years, however. Photo by Erik Skindrud

As a world market commodity, fertilizer prices are determined much like the prices of most agricultural commodities. The fact that fertilizer is a commodity means that supply and demand factors in major markets around the world impact the price U.S. farmers and landscapers pay for fertilizer. The prices paid for the major fertilizer materials reached the highest level of record during the spring of 2006.

Increase In Global Demand
Increased global demand for fertilizer has played a large part in recent years in placing upward pressure on fertilizer prices. World fertilizer demand increased by 13 percent or nearly 20 million nutrient tons from FY00/01 to FY04/05. This increase in demand is nearly equivalent to total nutrient use in the United States, which stood at 22.1 million nutrient tons during FY04/05. Over this four-year period, world nitrogen demand grew by 10 percent, phosphate demand grew by 14 percent and potash demand grew by nearly 23 percent.

Supply Factors
Supply factors have also played a significant role in driving up fertilizer prices, particularly for nitrogen. Before we address that issue, we need to take a quick look at the major fertilizer nutrients and their sources of supply. While fertilizer materials can contain one, two, or all three of the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphate and potash, the sources of these nutrients vary and, thus have differing impacts on their respective prices.

Anhydrous ammonia is the source of nearly all the nitrogen (N) fertilizer produced in the world. Ammonia is produced by combining N with hydrogen (H). The N is obtained from the atmosphere, while the H is obtained from natural gas. The cost of natural gas accounts for 70-90 percent of the production cost of ammonia. Thus, when U.S. natural gas prices increased significantly beginning in the year 2000, the cost of domestically produces ammonia also rose significantly. Average U.S. ammonia production costs rose by a whopping 172 percent from 1999 to 2005.

While fertilizer producers can try to pass along these cost increases, the commodity nature of the business and competition from producers in N exporting countries with access to lower cost natural gas, limits this option. As a result, a rise in U.S. natural gas prices causes producer margins to shrink. Eventually, margins turn negative as gas prices continue to increase. Consequently, companies are forced to reduce production, temporarily idle, or even permanently close plants depending on the specific economic situation they face.

Phosphate production begins with the mining of phosphate rock. The United States is the world's largest producer and exporter of phosphate fertilizer. Thus increased global demand has been the driving factor behind the rise in phosphate fertilizer prices. However, significantly higher costs for major production inputs like ammonia and sulfur have also placed upward pressure on the prices of the major phosphate fertilizer materials like DAP and MAP. Average U.S. production costs for ammonium phosphate increased by 20 percent from 1999 to 2003, the latest year for which data are available, and are expected to have increased further since 2003 as ammonia prices have continued to rise.

Potash production is based on the mining of potash ore and is the most concentrated of the nutrients. As a resource dependent nutrient, potash is produced in only 12 countries. Over 77 percent of the potash produced worldwide is imported by both producing and non-producing countries to meet their needs. While other countries impact the potash market, potash market fundamentals begin in North America. Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of potash accounting for nearly a third of total production and over 37 percent of world trade. Nearly 45 percent of Canada's exports go to the United States, the world's second largest potash importer behind China.

U.S. Green Building Council

Landscape contractors create the green spaces that turn a dry hillside into an inviting place to live. Updated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards from the U.S. Green Building Council address landscapes as well as home structures. Photo by Erik Skindrud

By Rick Fedrizzi, President

The end of the year is usually a time to reflect upon the successes of the last 12 months. But what stands out for me as I think about 2006 is not what we have already accomplished; instead, I am struck by all that we can accomplish in 2007. There's no denying that we have made tremendous progress towards transforming the built environment--look no further than the green roofs growing on buildings all across the country for proof--but acknowledging our success also means recognizing how far we have to go. Green building has never been more important to the future of our environment and our communities, and we have never had greater opportunities to truly make green building mainstream practice.

We are also co-sponsoring with ASHRAE and IESNA (the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) the development of Standard 189, a new minimum standard for high performance building that will help to drive green building practice into the mainstream.

The key to the evolution of green building is recognizing that buildings are more than physical structures. With LEED for Homes and LEED for Neighborhood Development, USGBC will address buildings within the larger context of landscapes and communities. The recognition that buildings are inextricable from our infrastructure is also the key to our efforts on global climate change. Among other programs, USGBC is engaging the World Green Building Council as a partner in Clinton Climate Initiative to support green building programs in the 40 largest cities in the world, and is working with the City of Seattle, the City of Grand Rapids, and Enterprise Community Partners on the creation of a "Green Print" toolkit for use by the 250+ cities that have signed the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement.

Our new educational programs reflect the growing diversity of the green building industry. The Education Providers Program will expand the menu of available courses for professionals in all disciplines, and we've launched new LEED Professional Accreditation "tracks" for interior design and facility management. Via partnerships with industry publications we have also developed new online courses to make green building education even more accessible.

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June 27, 2019, 1:57 am PDT

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