Sunday, October 02, 2005

Certified Lumber

Since Wednesday we are proud owners of a big stack of certified lumber from sustainably managed forests. Now, not many people (and definitely not any local lumber yards) have heard about "certified" lumber (yet). But then, many people still shop at Mall-Wart too ;-)

The way I use the term Certified Lumber is to refer to wood harvested from forests that are managed responsibly (management for sustainability being one of the goals). According to my research there are three major "certification bodies" out there: FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), SFI (American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA) Sustainable Forest Initiative) and SmartWood.

FSC is an international, independent organization to "promote responsible management of the world's forests". According to their website, over the past 10 years, 50 million hectares (190,000 square miles - the size of MN, WI & IA combined) in more than 60 countries have been certified.

SFI on the other hand is the industry's voluntary program for responsible forest management that the members of the trade organization must "agree to work towards wood procurement and forest management strategies that meet the SFI program guidelines".

SmartWood was the world's first independent forestry certifier established in 1989.

So, what's FSC-certified responsible forestry management ?

Most of the information above was taken from an excellent paper by the "Natural Resources Council of Maine".

Where can I get it?

It took me about half a day to find a local source for FSC certified lumber: Certified Wood Products out of Minnetonka. Owner Dan Haugen was incredibly friendly and helpful on providing our small project with the lumber. Typically his company only supplies large commercial projects with lumber. Compared with the cost of a local building supplies company, we only paid 6% (about $500) more for knowing that we did the right thing!

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