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LEED Green Building Credit Closes Illegal Wood Loophole

USGBCThe US Green Building Council (USGBC) has updated the LEED green building rating system in an attempt to stop illegal logging.

“Today, it is possible to achieve the LEED wood credit and still have illegal wood in a LEED certified project,” said Scot Horst, USGBC chief product officer. “This is because LEED projects receive credit for a percentage of the wood on the project, rather than on all wood used.”

The new pilot Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) credit, which is in the LEED quarterly addenda, aims to advance environmentally responsible forest management by rewarding project teams that proactively verify that the wood they are using is legal.

USGBC says it may use the credit as a model for other building materials in the supply chain.

“As we have begun looking at approaches to incentivize responsible sourcing of all materials that go into our buildings — such as concrete, steel, copper and other materials — we recognize the need to address both the top — rewarding the best — as well as the bottom by eliminating unacceptable practices,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC CEO and founding chair, adding that LEED v4 takes steps to reward environmentally responsible sourcing of all raw materials.

The pilot ACP is applicable to both LEED 2009 and LEED v4 systems. Builders can continue to use the older LEED 2009 rating system until Oct. 31. After Oct. 31, building projects seeking LEED certification must use LEED v4, the latest version of LEED, which is more rigorous and has multiple updates.

The new LEED credit comes at a time when the green building sector is outpacing overall construction growth in the US and globally is expected to double by 2018.

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