FSC Lumber and Chain of Custody

We just got an updated materials estimate from the lumberyard we look like we’re going to be using for the project.  We selected National Lumber.  We will probably not order every single item from them since simple economics point to sourcing goods from multiple vendors to bring costs down.  However, we are absolutely getting all of our lumber from them.  Why?  Because National Lumber has proven to be the only lumberyard in New England that not only offers FSC lumber (Forest Stewardship Council) but also offers Chain of Custody Certification.  We need FSC certified lumber to qualify under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating program for the house to get the point for lumber. 

Chain of Custody goes beyond the sales guy saying “yes we sell FSC lumber,” it creates a paper trail of certified material moving through the operation, including purchase, delivery, inventory, re-manufacturing (such as with National’s in house mill work shop) and shipment.  Through FSC chain of custody, companies can demonstrate their commitment to environmentally and socially responsible forest management and label their products with the FSC trademarks.  Look for this FSC logo.

What was the cost?  Our last lumber estimate was in August and since prices have dropped since then the price increase for FSC lumber was mitigated by the drop in lumber prices.  The original difference would have been about 15% but the NET difference for us in the budget came to a mere 2%. 

So far we’re finding the cost of building green is not escalating the cost of the project, which is an important consideration in today’s economy and will be a critical element for families looking to build in the future.

Posted by: KDL
Find me on Twitter: newscaster

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4 Responses

  1. Have you looked at Sterritt lumber In Watertown or Green Source in Braintree? I have heard especially great things about Green Source, as far as their detailed research of the products they sell and all aspects of their ‘green-ness’. A contractor I worked with on a project in Georgetown used Sterritt and had good luck with them. (You can see my blog for more info about the Georgetown project)
    I attended a LEED seminar last year and the presenters, who were both local and had a lot of experience in green building, felt that using FSC wood in this area wasn’t worth the extra expense in projects locally. Their research demonstrated that most of the lumber found locally is sustainably harvested, even though it isn’t FSC certified. This was part of their explanation that sometimes practicality overrules getting the point. Their experience was not in LEED for homes though.
    Good luck in your work – would love to see more about your project in future blogs!

  2. Sorry! Thought your were in Mass!!!

  3. Thank you for your note. I will look into both just to do my due diligence but we found that the cost for the FSC wood was incremental in the cost of the project. I am at a meeting in Vegas right now and working with the NAHB’s group on their green rating system. They’re recommendation is to forgo LEED and go with NAHB’s program. I like the certification and structure that LEED brings but we may change course. And you are right the added expenses that LEED drives for a point is not practical in many places. Are you going to Green Build in Boston?

  4. Lewis Lumber is another FSC certified and chain of custody compliant lumber source in New England. They are located in PA. I get a lot of my wood from there, and I’ve like it so far.

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