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Certified Wood Branches Out

Forest Certification's Evolving Role in Green Building Rating Systems

January 2012
Sponsored by Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. (SFI Inc.)

Continuing Education

Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this month’s Continuing Education article.

Learning Objectives - After reading this article, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss how forest and chain of custody certification contributes to green building.
  2. Explain why recognizing all forest certification programs increases supply and purchasing options.
  3. Identify government initiatives and agencies that recognize multiple forest certification standards in the context of green building.
  4. Identify various green building rating tools that recognize multiple forest certification standards.
  5. Evaluate the effect of LEED Pilot Credit 43 on forest certification programs.

Credits: 1.00 HSW

This course was approved by the GBCI for 1 GBCI CE hour(s) for LEED Credential Maintenance.

This test is no longer available for credit

NOTE: The information about LEED 2012 was accurate as per Public comment period #2, and is no longer current as of September 14th, 2011.

Wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years. Its desirable aesthetic, superior environmental characteristics and ease of construction have made it a popular choice among architects for residential and commercial projects alike. During the last few decades, there has been an emergence of forest certification programs whose mission it is to promote responsibly managed forests. This article will discuss the major North American forest certification programs, profile how they are currently accepted by various green building rating systems and by government agencies in regards to their role in green building, and highlight new opportunities for recognition in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Pilot Credit 43.

Forest Certification: Good For You, Good For Our Forests

Wood from responsibly managed forests is an excellent choice for any new construction or renovation project. Overall, there are many studies that demonstrate wood production consumes less energy, emits fewer greenhouse gases, releases fewer pollutants into the air and generates much less water pollution compared to competing materials like steel and concrete. In addition, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, sequestering and storing the carbon while producing oxygen — and this reduces greenhouse gases and improves air quality. They provide numerous other benefits, including clean air and water, habitat for wildlife, commercially valuable products like wood and medicinal plants, and employment for local communities.

Using certified wood as a building material helps conserve our forests.

Photo by Sierra Pacific Windows, a division of Sierra Pacific Industries


Originally published in the January/February 2012 issue of GreenSource
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