SmartWood Certification Program – January 15, 2003

January 15, 2003

[Presentation]
Bina Venkataraman of Rainforest Alliance presented RA’s SmartWood program. Bina’s notes: GREEN BUILDING: Resources for Sourcing and Specifying Certified Wood.

[Presentation Topics Survey]
We took a very simple, low-tech survey about topics for future presentations. The most popular of the 22 topics were:

  1. Green/Alternative Power
  2. Financial Incentives for Building Green
  3. Can I vote my way to a greener New York?
  4. Big Green Buildings: Conde Nast, 20 River Terrace and friends
  5. Green Building and Affordable Housing
  6. Green Roofs
  7. Solar Applications

Write-ins included City Building/Zoning Codes and Green Building Market Trends. A surprise dud was the LEED Rating System and Wood Alternatives/Composite Building Materials.

GREEN BUILDING: Resources for Sourcing and Specifying Certified Wood

Certified Forest Products Council Website (www.certifiedwood.org)

Description: The website provides a searchable database of suppliers and certifiers of FSC certified wood products. It also describes the criteria for certification and the process of incorporating certified products into building construction and design.

Two basic resources for architects:

  • Detailed information on how to specify and document use of certified wood products throughout construction process (‘Project Toolkit’)
  • Market linkages for architects and clients to select supplies and a database of contact information of the suppliers
  1. Project Toolkit: A Manual for Architects (see http://www.certifiedwood.org/search-modules/CertForests.aspThe website provides a free download of this manual, which consists of guidelines for specifying certified wood used in a particular project. Project Toolkit specifies how to document and search for suppliers of FSC certified products. It provides sample specification language, as well as sample invoices and documentation spreadsheets. It also details how to bid for materials when the supply of FSC certified wood is limited and provides a bid compliance form. A case study is included that describes in narrative form how certified wood products can be incorporated into a project.
  2. Market Linkages: Searching for SuppliersThe website allows online searches for sources of FSC certified products. You can search by location (anywhere in the world) and also by region where wood is harvested (this may help meet the criteria of local wood quantities for LEED certification). Location searches require you to specify level on the supply chain: woodworker, retailed, primary or secondary manufacturer, distributor, forest owner or manager, broker/agent. Although currently no specific search for ‘architect’ is included in this list, architects have the ability to search for suppliers on behalf of their clients, or can direct the client to this site.The site also has product type searches, where the architect can choose from categories such as decking, furniture, housewares, chips, paper, flooring. When one type is selected, a list of suppliers is produced. For each supplier, you are given complete contact information, a supplier profile, and a full product listing. Nevertheless, this listing does not reflect current inventories, but is rather the entire range of FSC certified products and species the vendors could supply. For current availability, the suppliers must be directly contacted.

    An example of the outcome of a search: If you select Engineered Wood Products from the listed product types, a list of 62 certified companies in 22 countries comes up. (The category includes I-Joists and I-Beams, Trusses, Laminated Wood Products). Another example: If you select Doors, 138 certified suppliers in 28 companies comes up. You can also narrow the search to accessories, interior or exterior doors, or specialty doors. For each supplier company, you can access a profile describing size, product line, and other relevant information.

    Finally, the website also allows searches by certifier (for example, Smartwood). The profiles of each certifier are provided, and the architect can compare and contrast the criteria used by various certifiers before searching the database of suppliers.

US Green Building Council Website (www.usgbc.org/LEED)

Description: Through the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System, USGBC certifies buildings (not the individual products used to construct them) based on voluntary, consensus-based national standards for assessing building performance and adherence to sustainability goals.

Two areas are of relevant interest to architectural community:

  • LEED Rating System Manual, which describes certification process and criteria in order for building projects to qualify
  • Workshops and Conferences that architects can attend to share insight on projects and learn about emerging green technologies and materials
  1. LEED Rating System ManualCertified Wood provides one point under the ‘Materials and Resources’ category of qualifying criteria for LEED certification. (p.29 of Rating System Manual: https://www.usgbc.org/LEED/Project/project_list.asp ) A minimum of 50% wood-based materials must be FSC certified, and documentation is required of builders that specifies sources and quantifies certified wood based materials.In addition, points can be earned for materials harvested, recovered, or extracted within 500 miles. This encourages the use of locally grown wood products. (Must account for 50% of regional materials used). Points can also be earned for salvaged or refurbished materials used. (p.25).

    The rating system awards up to 69 points for a range of criteria including sustainable sight, stormwater management, indoor environmental quality, recycled content, use of renewable energy, water efficiency, and erosion control. The Manual specifies those criteria required for certification. Basic certification requires 26 to 32 points, whereas advanced ratings require additional points up to 69.

  2. Workshops and ConferencesThe USGBC provides workshops nationwide for engineers, architects, and the building industry. The workshops train professionals in the LEED rating system and accreditation process and describe methods of incorporating green building strategies. Workshop training also outlines the benefits of green building and certification. Attendees receive discounted resources on sustainable building design.The First Annual USGBC Green Building Expo and Conference will take place this November 13th thru 15th in Austin, Texas. Major topics will include: leading green technologies, educational programs on the benchmarks of sustainability, products available on the market, and financing of projects. Areas of emphasis will include: water use, energy, materials, indoor environmental quality, biophelia, and health and productivity. (See detailed schedule: http://www.usgbc.org/Expo/Schedule/usgbc_expo_schedule.pdf)

Web pages of Interest

USGBC:

CERTIFIED FOREST PRODUCTS COUNCIL:

  • Guidelines for Specifying Certified Wood For Architects and Download Site for ‘Project Toolkit’
    http://www.certifiedwood.org/search-modules/CertForests.asp
  • Case study of Certified Wood Specified Building Project
    http://www.certifiedwood.org/education-modules/case-studies/strawberry-mansion.htm
  • Online Directory for FSC Certified Forest Product Suppliers/Materials (lists by product type)
    http://www.usgbc.org/Expo/Schedule/usgbc_expo_schedule.pdf
  • Online Search Directory for FSC Certified Suppliers (by location around world)
    http://www.certifiedwood.org/search-modules/SupplierSearch.ASP
  • Online Search Directory for FSC Certified Products by Certifier
    http://www.certifiedwood.org/search-modules/ApprovedCertifiers.asp

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