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Wood has long been recognized as a renewable resource and an environmentally-friendly component material for a wide variety of products. Wood is the world’s only 100 percent renewable building material and is "manufactured” with the organic power of solar energy. Wood is a safe, sturdy and a dependable material - even under high stress conditions like hurricanes and earthquakes. Pound for pound, it is stronger than steel.

The production and use of wood (components) is easier on the environment than any other building material. It takes less fossil fuels and less energy to produce wood products than alternative materials. New innovations in engineered wood products provide enhanced properties and durability for many millwork applications. Wood, of course, comes from trees.

"The forest products industry has an incredibly positive story to tell. It produces our most renewable material resource, maintains habitat for thousands of species, removes carbon from the atmosphere, and provides a wide range of consumer goods without which life as we know it would be impossible.” Dr. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace Co-founder

Even with an environmentally-friendly product like wood, environmental stewardship entails the use of best forestry management practices and sustainable forestry activity. WDMA supports those programs that promote the use of best forestry management practices and sustainable forestry activities. Listed below are some of the leading programs for conservation, education and certification for responsible forest management.

CertifiedForestRelated Associations and Rating Systems

Three groups initiated the development of standards:
  • American ForestFoundation – primarily dealing with the certification of tree farms. Sets forth standards for a management plan for these farms.
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – An independent organization that promotes responsible forest management.
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) - American Forest & Paper Association development SFI as a set of forestry principles based on the premise of responsible environmental policy and sound business practices integrated to benefit companies, shareholders, customers and the people they serve.

Forest Certification Systems – There is a great comparison chart for Forest Certification Systems at The FSC is the only forest certification system to fully meet all of the Certified Forest Products Council’s criteria – primary component is the chain of custody requirement.
  • Forest Stewardship - Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – organization promoting responsible forest management by evaluating and accrediting certifiers. This organization provides public education about independent third party certification.
  • FSC Accredited Certification Bodies
  • CANADA– Silva Forest – Scope of accreditation is within Canada for Forest Management and Chain of Custody
  • UNITED STATESRainforest Alliance Smart Wood – Scope of accreditation is worldwide for Forest Management and Chain of Custody
  • UNITED STATESScientific Certification – Scope of accreditation is worldwide for Forest Management and Chain of Custody

  • Sustainable Forest Initiative Program (SFI) – comprehensive system of principal objectives and performance measures that integrates the perpetual growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil, water quality and aesthetics.

  • American Tree Farm – Tree Farm is the oldest and largest conservation, education and certification program for private forest landowners in the United States. The system has grown to encompass over 26 million acres of certified, sustainable non-industrial forests. Tree Farm certifies forests via rigorous American Forest Foundation set standards. Properties must be re-inspected every five years to maintain certification. They have a team of 7,000 volunteers who perform their inspections.

  • CSA Sustainable Forest Management - The CSA is an independent, private sector, not-for-profit organization supported by over 8,000 members and a network of offices around the world. The CSA is the leading sustainable forest certification scheme in Canada.

  • PEFC Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification - an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainable managed forests through independent third party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.

"The major green building programs vary somewhat in their treatment of the use of wood products. While some focus on performance rather than the material used, other programs place "restrictions” on wood as an acceptable material (without any such "requirements” for steel, aluminum, concrete, glass or other building products).


Although wood is a renewable material, it has a number of "restrictions/requirements” in order for it to qualify for points in the LEED program. First, it can only be "certified” wood, and it can only be certified under the FSC program. (LEED does not recognize any of the other forest certification programs.) Further, under the LEED program, the only renewable materials that qualify for points are defined as "rapidly renewable” with a growth cycle of ten years or less. (This effectively eliminates virtually all of the major tree species.)

  • Energy Star requirement for credits. Extra credits for surpassing Energy Star standards.
  • LEED Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee (TSAC) states: "Aluminum framed windows had the worst energy efficiency compared to wood and PVC”.
  • Reference made to Life Cycle Analysis tools:
  • Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES).
  • Athena Institute Environmental Impact Estimator.
  • No material bias against wood
  • Certified wood can be from any of the major recognized wood certification programs. (This makes wood procurement and source availability much better.)
  • Complete (whole) wood products qualify that meet or exceed Energy Star
  • Reference made to Life Cycle Analysis tools:
  • Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES).
  • Athena Institute Environmental Impact Estimator.
Green Building Initiative:
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