Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is LEED Breaking Up with FSC-Certified Wood?

The green building certification, LEED, is looking beyond its longstanding alliance with the Forest Stewardship Council for other good wood options.  This will be a very interesting development to follow -- whether the new certifiers that LEED partners with do, indeed, provide wood that is legitimately sustainably harvested.  As Treehugger reports:

Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED, stated in a letter that the question that needs to be asked is how can green building standards create greater sustainability in the wood industry and how does the USGBC create greater market demand for sustainably harvested lumber with which we can build our buildings.
He continues:

This issue is really about land use as well as all the complexities of encouraging healthy forests and people. Through the use of these credits, LEED users are attempting to transform the way we use wood as a resource and the forests that wood comes from. Land use policy and the impacts that occur when we harvest natural resources are among the most challenging issues we face as a species, greatly impacting human health, ecosystem health and economic well-being. Land use is a key issue in how we extract, manufacture and use resources that build our buildings and the things we surround ourselves with. Unfortunately, these issues are among the most complex to measure. They are in fact as complex as any natural system.

Just a couple of posts ago, we noted the problem of eco-certification being too expensive for too many people to get their credibly green products certified.  FSC certification is often cited as one example of this barrier to entry.

That said, the main alternative in the marketplace, SFI certification, still draws considerable criticism as not being truly sustainable according to the best recommendations of forest scientists.  So LEED needs to be very careful here not to undermine its own credibility in its quest to achieve the very important goal of expanding its accepted choices of credibly sustainable wood products. 

Read the full Treehugger post>>

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