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From both environmental and economic perspectives it is important that wood products, and particularly products derived from U.S. forests, play a substantial role in the U.S. green building movement.
The materials used in building construction can have a significant effect on a building's environmental footprint. Sustainable or “green” architecture can help to substantially reduce the negative impacts on the environment and improve quality of life. There is a well-established scientific understanding that wood products use less energy and provide greater environmental benefits than alternative building materials.
Over 90 percent of American-grown timber comes from private forests. The use of sustainably-produced, domestically-grown wood products also helps maintain the manufacturing base in many local economies, which in turns helps keep our private forests from being converted to other non-forest uses.
The existence of multiple green building standards promotes competition between and improvement of existing standards, allows for the creation of new standards, and enables public and private institutions, and private individuals, to choose the most environmentally beneficial standard or rating system for their circumstances and projects. In 2008, NASF passed a green building resolution, pointing to the importance of giving wood products, especially from the United States, a substantial role in the U.S. green building movement. The resolution urges organizations that maintain green building standards to recognize the value of U.S. wood that is certified by a credible forestland certification standard.
Forest certification standards from the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) are accepted by a significant segment of the U.S. wood market as providing credible evidence that wood certified through the program comes from responsibly managed forests. NASF members also approved a forest certification policy statement in 2008 setting out the fundamental elements of forest certification: independent governance, multi-stakeholder standard, independent certification, complaints/appeals process, open participation and transparency.