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LEED Rejects Alternative Wood Certification, Sticks With FSC

Wood approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) will continue to be the only lumber allowed in LEED-certified buildings, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has decided.

A USGBC member vote threw out proposals to introduce a “Forest Certification Benchmark”, which would have allowed LEED to recognize alternative certifications for forestry management.

When first introduced a decade ago, the LEED rating system only gave points for FSC-certified wood. Since then other industry benchmarks have improved their practices and fought to be included, says Scot Horst, the council’s senior vice president for LEED.

“Over the past six years, this one point in the 100-point rating system has continued to be the source of tremendous tension for USGBC members and industry professionals alike,” Horst said in a letter to members.

USGBC began studying the conflict in 2006, and its committees formulated a new approach. Horst said of their work, “The result was a clear and transparent benchmark that was designed to afford all forest products certification programs an equal ability to demonstrate leadership and earn recognition in LEED.”

The proposal went to a membership vote in October, and although a majority of those voting approved the changes, the measure did not receive the two-thirds majority required to pass.

In related news, the ten largest publicly-traded U.S. homebuilders scored an average of just 15 out of 100 in green building rankings by the investment house Calvert Investments.

KB Home again topped the rankings, and Pulte Homes remained in second place. But Meritage homes, which tied for second in Calvert’s last survey, dropped to eighth. MDC Holdings came in last.

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