Green certification questioned


As sustainable building gains popularity, more landowners want green certifications for timber, but green building experts say not all certifications should be considered equivalent.

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As sustainable building gains popularity, more landowners want green certifications for timber, but green building experts say not all certifications should be considered equivalent.

The Oregon state forester is lobbying for more easily obtained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program awards points for using wood certified by the international nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council. But Oregon State Forester Marvin Brown would prefer the council award points for another certification by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a nonprofit established by major timber corporations like Weyerhauser, International Paper and Smurfit-Stone Container. Brown says the industry standard is just as rigorous as the Forest Stewardship Council’s certification.

[Executive director of the Cascadia Green Building Council Jason]McLennan, however, disagrees.

“I’ve seen (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) forests and it’s akin to smoking back in the 1960s being advertised as healthy,” he said. “It’s typical forestry practices. The spin is that there are not many (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified forests in Oregon, so local wood isn’t being used. But that’s because the companies there don’t want to do it. The question should be: Why is forestry in Oregon behind the curve?”

Read more at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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