Wood may seem like an obvious choice for green homes, but certification matters. For now, we're talking wood in its full-fiber form: no MDF, OSB, plywood, Glulam, or other "carbohydrate" wood here.
So what makes wood certifiably green?
In the US, wood is a fairly abundant resource. We're not likely to run out anytime soon for a number of reasons. Foremost: vast tracts of land are owned by timber companies, like Weyerhaeuser, that would go out of business if they didn't have wood to sell. They're behind the SFI, or Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a certification program often criticized as weak. Indeed, most timber companies clearcut, then replant a monoculture of all the same species. Neither practice is particularly good for the environment, though it's probably great for the bottom line.
We think FSC certification, which is administered by The Forest Stewardship Council, a truly independent nonprofit, and more local choices, like the Northwest's Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities certification are better options. FSC wood is widely available at outlets... including the Home Depot. Inquire at your local lumberyard if any of their wood comes from nearby family forests. You might even consider taking a weekend trip out to see where the studs or floor for your home will come from.
image by ijsendoorn via sxc.hu