Sustainable building is quickly becoming the new normal. Sustainable products are widely available and competitively priced. Consumers expect that companies engage in sustainable practices, and that includes the buildings in which we live and work. The great news is that building with sustainable wood products such as FSC®-Certified lumber and plywood can result in higher sales prices and lower overall building lifecycle costs.
What Is FSC®-Certified Wood?
The Forest Stewardship Council was established in 1992, and currently operates in over 80 countries. The mission of the FSC is “to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests.” One of the ways they accomplish this mission is through creation and enforcement of a rigorous forest certification. The certification ensures that harvested timber comes from responsibly-managed forests where the land and the local people are treated with respect and care.
FSC® Chain of Custody Certificate
Builders can be sure that the lumber and plywood they’re receiving comes from sustainably-managed forests thanks to the Forest Stewardship Council’s Chain of Custody Certificate. This certificate is issued to suppliers that demonstrate compliance with the guidelines established to protect the world’s forests and its people.
According to the FSC’s website, “This means that the material sourced has not been harvested illegally, in violation of traditional or civil rights, or in a way that threatens high conservation value (HCV) areas. Controlled wood must also not be taken from forests being converted to plantation or non-forest use, or from forests containing genetically modified trees.”
The certification helps to ensure that every participant in each stage in the supply chain has met the standards for sustainability for the product they are moving. Reputable certified suppliers will be able to provide a Chain of Custody certificate, containing their unique COC number. Be sure to look for it on suppliers’ websites or ask for it when negotiating your order.
FSC® Certification and LEED Credits
Choosing FSC®-Certified plywood and lumber has many benefits. Not only does it show that your building project is striving to meet basic sustainability standards, it also helps your project earn credits towards LEED® certification. LEED®, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was established by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and is a way for developers and builders to demonstrate compliance with recognized green building standards.
The LEED® v4 standards are based on a system of credits that can be earned through a variety of green-building practices and materials choices. The more credits a project earns, the higher the LEED® rating. There are currently four tiers of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Beyond the environmental and human health factors, earning the certification had added benefits, including money savings over the lifetime of a project, increased building occupant satisfaction, and increased project value.
Green buildings may be more expensive to build, but the operational cost savings (lower energy and water bills), increased occupant health and productivity, and overall higher project value more than off-set the initial costs. Investment in sustainable building, therefore, goes beyond critical environmental conservation and sustainable development practices. It is an investment that pays off monetarily as well, with increased project value and higher sale and resale value.
For more information on the FSC®-Certified forest products we carry, visit our website or contact us for a quote.