Identifying Greener Wood Products
Wood is a renewable resource. Forests provide many environmental benefits, including: habitats and climate change mitigation. Many certified sources of sustainably harvested wood are available. Non-sustainable harvesting of wood can produce soil erosion, pollutant runoff, increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, and habitat loss.
Environmental Attributes to Consider*
- Certified sustainably harvested
- Locally harvested (Specifying local materials may help minimize transportation impacts; however it may not have a significant impact on reducing the overall embodied energy of a building material because of efficiencies of scale in some modes of transportation.)
- Reduction/elimination of added toxic binders, coatings, preservatives, and pesticides
- Recycled-content, salvaged, recovered, or reclaimed wood products
*Depending upon the performance requirements (e.g., structural, interior, or exterior application), and other considerations.
How to Buy
- See wood standards and ecolabels recommended by EPA.
- Institutional and Federal purchasers can use this model specification language (wood sections include: 06 05 73 Wood Treatment; 06 10 00 Rough Carpentry; 06 20 00 Finish Carpentry; 12 59 00 Systems Furniture), which provides federal agencies' requirements and other practices to consider when specifying construction projects. Exit
EPA’s Forestry website. Information about environmental requirements relating specifically to establishments that operate timber tracts, tree farms, forest nurseries, and related activities.
EPA's Formaldehyde website. This website provides information that addresses formaldehyde concerns with laminate flooring and information on the formaldehyde standards for composite Wood Product's Act.
GSA Advantage is the federal government's premier online shopping superstore giving you access to millions of commercial products and services available from GSA-negotiated contracts. Anyone may browse the site to view and compare the variety of products and services offered. Visit the Environmental Program Aisle search by environmental icons and limit your results to sustainable products.
BuildingGreen.com provides print and electronic resources to help in the design and building of construction projects from a whole-systems perspective, and are publishers of Environmental Building News and the GreenSpec® directory.