Sustainability is playing a larger role in how we construct buildings. Many organizations are trying to reduce the life-cycle costs of their buildings by using “green building” practices. Currently, the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program dominates the building certification scheme. Most new construction projects require a substantial amount of wood. The only approved wood source that can help qualify new construction for LEED certification is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)–certified wood. Given the dramatic increase in new green construction, this study assessed the availability and use of FSC wood in LEED certification projects throughout New York State (NYS). We surveyed architects working on LEED projects to determine how FSC-certified wood was used and if they were having difficulty acquiring such wood. We suspected a green supply chain bottleneck at the sawmill level may impact end users in the LEED certification process. Our results indicate that architects are very knowledgeable about FSC wood and would like to incorporate it into their designs. We found no issues in sourcing FSC wood for LEED projects. Although architects prefer to buy locally, many must procure FSC wood outside of NYS. Many architects are paying a premium price for FSC wood, which may impact their decision to use it on future LEED construction projects.

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Author notes

The authors are, respectively, Associate Professor, State Univ. of New York–College of Environmental Sci. and Forestry, Dept. of Forest and Natural Resources Management, Syracuse (rhgermai@esf.edu); and Assistant Professor, Syracuse Univ. Whitman School of Management, Syracuse, New York (pcpenfie@syr.edu). This paper was received for publication in July 2009. Article no. 10651.