Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A New Flight of Spanish Steps

The west façade of the Prado museum in Madrid.

As if Spain's embracing of heavier runway models wasn't reason enough to celebrate the country, they can now also be cheered for making a significant step toward helping the global environment, thanks largely to greener-construction requirements established by the Ministry of Culture in 2005.

This month the Rainforest Alliance announced that the extension of the Prado, Spain's largest art museum, will be the first major Spanish building project to purchase the bulk of its lumber from sustainable sources. The Alliance confirmed that more than half of the wood used throughout the project was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests.

Planks of sustainable cedar await their role in the new building.

The Prado's extension, which incorporates exhibition spaces, conservation studios, an assembly hall, conference room and administrative offices, was built by UTE El Prado, a temporary union of Dragados S.A. and Constructora San Jose S.A., two local building firms now recognized for leading the green-woods movement in Spain. FSC-approved timber used in the project includes oak flooring, birch plywood and yellow pine wall paneling and ceilings, and beech door frames.

David Hadley, SmartWood Regional Coordinator for the Rainforest Alliance, said, "This sends a strong signal to all major building projects in Spain, and Europe, that sourcing certified sustainable timber is not just possible, but should be a basic requirement. We urge all Spanish public administrations, from national to municipal level, to introduce sustainable timber procurement policies to ensure all future public building projects require certified, sustainable timber and build on the great achievements of UTE El Prado."

For more information, please visit:
Rainforest Alliance: www.ra.org
Forest Stewardship Council: www.fscus.org
Prado museum: www.museoprado.mcu.es

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