Forest Stewardship Council

EHH week 06: sustainably harvested wood

The carpenters have begun!  We are rising out of the dirt and starting wood framing.  So let’s talk about wood.  Thinking of trees as just a source of wood is not seeing the forest for the trees.  

Trees are a key element of a forest ecosystem, and standard logging practice is brutal to that ecosystem.  Forests provide animal habitat, stabilize soil slopes, buffer rain runoff, transpire water back to the atmosphere, shade the surface of the earth, convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, and reduce the heat island effect.  Clearcut stump fields do none of those.

Back in 1993 an organization called the Forest Stewardship Council was formed to change forest management.  Somewhat akin to organic certification for vegetables, FSC certification assures that the wood used in a building project came from a forest that is both a healthy ecosystem and can continue to produce timber indefinitely.  FSC means no clearcuts, no old growth, is third party certified, and has a chain of custody to track the lumber from forest to construction site.

All the wood material in Northwest Harvest House, all 100%, is FSC certified as well as formaldehyde free.   We got the dimensional lumber (2x6s) from Gray Lumber and the engineered lumber (I-joists) from RedBuilt.  The homeowners paid a small premium for FSC certified material.  The upcharge was worth it to them because they wish to support healthy forests.  Think of it like a donation to the Sierra Club.