Sustainably harvested wood is in grow- ing demand. In fact, wood certified through the Forest Stewardship
Council is the most specified green building
product in McGraw-Hill’s database of
60,000 project specifications. FSC-certified
wood can bring warmth to a retail space
while contributing to green building goals
and LEED credits.
What is FSC certification?
Established to address concerns over global
deforestation, the FSC is an independent,
nonprofit organization that promotes
responsible management of the world’s
forests through a voluntary certification
program. FSC-accredited third-party certification bodies evaluate forests against
the FSC Forest Management standards to
determine whether they are being responsibly managed and meet criteria.
In addition, companies selling wood and
paper products derived from certified forests or reclaimed wood sources can be certified under the FSC Chain-of-Custody (CoC)
standard. Once materials leave the FSC-certified forest, CoC certification traces the
materials as they move through the supply
chain, before reaching customers as finished products. Companies at each stage
of manufacturing and distribution, such
as sawmills and brokers, must be certified
in order to pass along an FSC claim. Any
qualified wood or fiber products, including
building materials, solid wood, and assembled products such as furniture and casework, can carry the FSC claim and/or label.
As awareness of and interest in FSC certification grows, so too does the number of
certified materials and products coming
onto the market. This growth is driven by
responsible procurement programs, ethical consumerism, the need to mitigate
risks associated with illegal harvesting,
and green building rating systems such as
LEED. FSC is the only forest product certification standard recognized under LEED.
How does it fit into LEED?
In order to count toward LEED credits,
FSC-certified products must comply with
CoC requirements and be entirely composed of eligible inputs, which include FSC-certified material, FSC “Controlled Wood”
(a designation for wood not certified by
FSC, but vetted to exclude the most controversial sources), and FSC-certified pre- and
post-consumer reclaimed material.
Historically, under LEED 2009, certified
wood applied to Credit 7 in the Materials
and Resources category (MRc7) for the
New Construction and Major Renovations
standard. Certified wood was eligible for
one point if at least 50% of permanently
installed wood products was FSC CoC certified, and two points if at least 95% was
certified. Now, under LEED v4, certified
wood applies to the “Building Product
Disclosure & Optimization: Sourcing of
Raw Materials” credit in the Materials and
Resources category (MRc3), in the standard
for Building Design + Construction. One
point can be achieved if at least 25% of the
permanently installed building materials,
including veneer wallcoverings and ceilings,
meet “leadership extraction practices,” and
FSC-certified products are one way to reach
that goal. Locally sourced products—those,
including FSC-certified products, made
from raw materials that originated and
were processed within 100 miles of the project site—are valued at double their cost.
LEED for Retail has been updated under
LEED v4 to include rating systems for different building and renovation types. It
now applies to the following project types:
Building Design + Construction, Interior
Design + Construction, and Building
Operations + Maintenance. Sourcing FSC-certified wood for any of these types of
retail projects contributes to LEED credits.
How is it documented for LEED credit?
To ensure that FSC-certified materials
contribute towards LEED credit achievement, proper documentation is required.
Project managers should first check the FSC
Certificate Database, www.info.fsc.org, to
verify that suppliers are in fact FSC-certified.
In general, companies selling FSC products
for a LEED project must follow the guidelines for FSC invoicing. This means that on
each invoice submitted for credit for using
FSC materials in a LEED project, the certified company’s CoC code, the FSC claim(s)
(such as FSC Mix Credit or FSC Mix 70%),
and the description and dollar value of each
item must be included.
FSC also offers a map-based directory,
www.marketplace.fsc.org, to connect store
planners and contractors to suppliers, buyers, and traders. FSC products such as siding,
trim, and cabinets also can be located by submitting a request using the FSC U.S. Product
Inquiry Form at www.us.fsc.org/product-
inquiry-form.231.htm, or through U.S.
Green Building Council’s Green Building
Information Gateway at www.gbig.org.
Specifying FSC-certified wood
green notes By Connie Chan
“In order to count
toward LEED credits,
must comply with
CoC requirements and
be entirely composed
of eligible inputs.”
Connie Chan, cchan@
is sales and marketing
coordinator of the Natural
Resources Division for SCS
Global Services. SCS is a third-party provider
of certification services worldwide under
the FSC scheme and a wide variety of other
green building and sustainability programs.
FSC license code FSC-A000521.