New rating system for green building a step toward healthy forests

WASHINGTON—The National Association of State Foresters applauds Tuesday’s announcement by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to expand opportunities for using wood products in green buildings, including wood certified by the American Tree Farm System®, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, and programs that are endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

USGBC, the governing body for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, announced this week the decision to expand LEED’s forest certification options. The announcement creates new pathways that can allow responsibly managed wood products to receive recognition for their contributions to sustainability in buildings.

Markets for wood help keep forests as forests by preventing their conversion to non-forest uses. Wood products used in construction store carbon and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions when manufactured, compared to alternatives like steel and concrete.

“This week’s announcement by the U.S. Green Building Council is a step forward for America’s forests,” said Paul DeLong, Wisconsin State Forester and President of the National Association of State Foresters. “By recognizing multiple forest certification options, USGBC is promoting the growth of sustainable forestry and green building practices.”

State Foresters deliver a variety of services and programs that are crucial to the management and health of America’s forests. Wood products, particularly products derived from United States forests, play a substantial role in the green building movement. A 2013 resolution passed by the full NASF membership recognizes the environmental benefits of wood as a building material. 

That same year, NASF members passed a resolution that recognizes the value of different approaches to forest certification in ensuring a sustainable supply of wood from well-managed forests. This week’s announcement includes a new pilot Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) credit that will further responsible wood sourcing and chain of custody.

“Markets that encourage the use of wood and multiple approaches to forest certification also help protect forests,” said Jay Farrell, Executive Director of the National Association of State Foresters.  “As natural resource professionals, State Foresters understand that markets are essential for landowners to manage and retain forests.  More market options mean more forest management options.”

Media Contact: Amanda Cooke at or 202-624-5417

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