Green Building’s LEED Credit Promotes Sustainable Forestry

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The green building movement – from architects and builders to specifiers and planners – can now benefit from an expanded range of responsibly sourced timber and forest products eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has just issued an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP). The ACP rewards building projects that use “wood products from certified sources as defined by ASTM D7612-10”, which includes internationally recognized voluntary forest certification standards such as PEFC (including its North American based members ATFS, CSA and SFI) and FSC. The ACP will apply to all LEED v4 rating systems including Homes v4 and to all LEED 2009 rating systems.

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Kingsgate House is a seven-story residential project in West London which was the first major construction project in the world to achieve PEFC Project Certification.

“Sustainable, PEFC-certified timber provides architects and the construction industry with great opportunities,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. “The possibilities are rather exciting in addressing challenges such as climate change, growing populations and urbanization, especially as wood offers innovative building solutions with a minimal environmental footprint.”

With LEED now including PEFC, construction projects can in the future obtain both LEED and PEFC Project Chain of Custody certification.

“The construction industry is one of the largest buyers of timber products – this means the sector has a huge influence on the type of timber in demand,” emphasized Mr. Gunneberg. “With PEFC-certified timber offering the widest choice of sustainable timber available to architects, specifiers and designers, we are poised to see an increase of wood used in construction.”

Wood is an increasingly popular choice for construction because of its aesthetic qualities, and numerous environmental benefits – including renewability and a lower carbon footprint than other materials. Forest certification provides evidence that wood originates from sustainable managed forests. PEFC, the world’s leading forest certification system, is recognized by green building councils globally and has received top scores in independent evaluations, for example by the UK government.

Source: PEFC, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification

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