LEED Certification Loophole- Blue-stained not Green?

SAF has two concerns about this version of the LEED certification scheme, put out by the US Green Building Council. One is that gives one certification system special credit (FSC), and the other is the question of 50 versus 500 miles for procurement. Here’s a letter from SAF weighing in on this.

My problem is even more fundamental. Certification systems are for managed forests and the point of certification is to ensure that those forests are managed sustainably. However, in our case (say, Colorado bark beetle- killed trees), those forests have not actually been managed at all, in the sense of fertilization, planting and thinning or the other practices that certification systems usually concern themselves with. A simple person would think it would be highly “green” to use our bounty of dead trees locally, or in Denver (500 from bug-killed would get us Denver), rather than, say, FSC certified products from anywhere far away. In my opinion, these incentives seem perverse, to say the least.

USGBC is a 501c3 not-for-profit, so there is no requirement for them to be responsive to the public’s concerns, but they are pretty much the gold (or platinum;?) standard for green building. Even the US Government touts using this scheme for buildings, despite the fact that our national forest system lumber would not be rated as “green.” Strange but true.

Note from Sharon: I published this over the weekend and then republished just now, hoping that someone might be interested. Perhaps I have found a topic too arcane for even this blog? I guess there’s no hope for another one I have in mind “Should federal agencies buy renewable energy credits?”

1 thought on “LEED Certification Loophole- Blue-stained not Green?”

  1. Many people also would prefer that ALL salvage logging was ended, despite any impacts (like catastrophic re-burns) happen down the road. Here in California, I’m sure we could expect that the current diameter limits of 20″ dbh (and 12″ dbh, in those “special” areas in the WUI) would be applied to salvage projects, via lawsuit. That would ensure that no mill would bid on it, leaving flashy fuels unmitigated. Chad Hanson has already successfully sued to stop roadside hazard tree projects in burned areas, saying, in essence, that roads only designed for his Prius are the only ones worth being made safe. We can be sure that wildfires in southern California won’t be salvaged, due to 1) The likely closing of the one mill near Porterville and 2) The prohibitive fuels costs for a 5 hour one-way trip.

    It is quite likely that this will be a busy year for wildfires, across the west. Unsalvaged wildfires lead to more barkbeetles.


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