LEED certification

Posted Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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As you reported (“States fight green-building leader over local wood,” June 9), a growing number of states are joining the long list of elected officials, forestry experts, conservationists and others who urge the U.S. Green Building Council to promote responsible forestry in North America by opening up LEED to other credible forest certification standards, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative ® (SFI®) and the American Tree Farm System (ATFS).

As your article noted, the Green Building Council’s exclusive recognition of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) program within LEED can discourage builders, architects and designers from sourcing wood products from the majority of domestic well-managed forests. Currently LEED treats two-thirds of certified forests in North America unfairly while favoring FSC.

Contrary to your article’s suggestion, FSC does not prohibit certification of plantations. And many companies are given exemptions to use FSC’s “banned” chemicals.

SFI-certified products have been excluded from the forest certification/sourcing credit since LEED’s inception without SFI ever once having been told the basis of that exclusion. SFI encourages USGBC to clarify why FSC meets their credit expectations and why SFI does not.

— Kathy Abusow, SFI President & CEO, Washington, D.C., and Ottawa, Ontario

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