Green Building Rating System Opens Door To Other Wood Certification Standards

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the governing body for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, has instituted a new program that will allow for green credits to be given for wood products certified under forest certification standards other than the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Until now the LEED rating system only awarded credit to wood and wood products certified under the FSC standard. This preferential treatment has had the effect of excluding locally grown wood products in LEED approved projects while favoring wood products from FSC-certified forests, much of it imported from other regions and abroad.

Forestry groups have been working for years to have the USGBC recognize additional forest certification systems, including the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Progamme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) in addition to FSC.

The new Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) credit is “designed to further advance environmentally responsible forest management and help rid our buildings of illegal wood by promoting the use of wood that is verified to be legal,” according to USGBC.

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