On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) issued a LEED alternative compliance path (ACP) that recognizes wood and paper from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) Program as part of an integrated approach to encouraging environmentally responsible forest management and eliminating illegal wood from the building material’s supply chain. The ACP applies to all LEED v4 rating systems including Homes v4 and to all LEED 2009 rating systems. A technical factsheet is available for more information on how to count your certified products for a LEED point. Read SFI’s press release announcing LEED recognition.
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This move further strengthens the widely-respected LEED program. It requires architects, builders and consumers to verify the legality of forest products used in LEED buildings, and awards credit for the use of forest products certified to programs like SFI. In order to count towards a LEED point, the user must first know that 100% of the forest products are from legal (non-controversial) sources, 70% from responsible sources and the remainder must be certified sources as evidenced by a chain of custody certification (CoC). SFI Fiber Sourcing certification counts as legal and responsible, while fiber delivered through a CoC certification counts as legal, responsible and certified sources. A factsheet is available listing all SFI Program Participants offering solid wood products.
The new alternative compliance path pilot recognizes SFI, the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and programs that are endorsed by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The alternative compliance path categorizes the various forest certification standards based on the ASTM D7612-10 (2015) standard which is titled “Categorizing Wood and Wood-Based Products According to Their Fiber Sources.” ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of voluntary consensus standards.
Forests certified to the SFI Standards are found in 42 states and provinces in the US and Canada. The acceptance of more responsibly sourced forest products into all LEED rating tools offers architects and builders greater access to these renewable products for their green building projects.