The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has been recognized by green building rating system BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) for its ability to allow the construction industry to responsibly source forest products. Their efforts to make one of the greenest building elements- wood!- even greener are definitely worth taking notice of!
According to the BREEAM website, its “assessment uses recognized measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction, and use.”
“The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes,” says Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI, Inc. “We are extremely pleased to be recognized by BREEAM. The responsible sourcing of materials is an increasingly important element of sustainable construction. It includes resource stewardship, corporate responsibility and sustainable procurement issues throughout the supply chain from landowners to brand owners.”
BREEAM’s recognition of Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified lumber joins the growing list of standards and organizations that continue to recognize the merits of all forest certification programs. Organizations like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, The Sustainability Consortium, GreenBlue and the National Association of State Foresters; and green building tools like the International Green Construction Code, Built Green Canada, and the ANSI accredited Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes standard.
Alan Yates, the Technical Director of Sustainability at BRE Global — an independent, third-party approvals organization that oversees BREEAM – said, “Our approach provides a way of comparing the rigor and robustness of the various responsible sourcing standards against a single common set of criteria. SFI meets a common set of requirements based on current best practice.” BREEAM also recognizes the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). In 2005, the SFI program was endorsed by PEFC. This endorsement adds international value to SFI Inc.’s position as a third-party certification program in North America.
There has been a bit of controversy in the last few months regarding the status of SFI and FSC lumber in some of the most popular green building rating systems, like LEED. It will be interesting to see where this all leads.