Georgia Bans LEED Over Certified Wood Credits
By Paula Melton
Following in Maine’s footsteps, the State of Georgia has effectively banned LEED certification for State building projects.
Governor Nathan Deal’s executive order (PDF), echoing language used by Maine Governor Paul LePage, requires green building standards that equally recognize three forestry standards—the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), the American Tree Farm System, and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts.). The Governor’s office claims that “recognizing all forest certifications equally will promote sustainable forestry in our state and will help create thousands of jobs while maintaining our strong outdoor heritage.” The ban does not apply to school district building projects but does apply to State-funded colleges and universities.
LEED offers optional certified woodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System. credits only for FSC-certified wood, but incentives are available for locally sourced materials—meaning that even non-certified local wood can be used to attain optional LEED credits.
BuildingGreen’s investigative series on the “wood wars" examines claims and motives behind recent LEED bans.
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