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 The Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools Resource
Materials » Sustainably Harvested Wood Products


Sustainably Harvested Wood Products

Emblem of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in green, in the shape of a check-marked tree; emblem's caption, 'Select environmentally preferable wood products such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).'  Photo excerpted with permission from CHPS

In some cases, wood may be the most applicable building product available for certain uses: many types of wood are structurally sound, durable, and beautiful. Additionally, wood can be renewable. However, irresponsible forestry practices such as clear cutting and herbicide have the potential to undermine ecosystems. To ensure that the wood purchased by schools has a minimum impact on the environment, it is important to specify the use of certified, sustainably harvested wood products. Though certified wood may be more expensive, it sends an important message to students and the community about the schools commitment to the environment and the future. If schools cannot afford to use Sustainably harvested wood for every application, it can showcase the wood in specific areas for educational purposes. The Forest Stewardship Council certifies wood through a chain of custody, 3rd party certification process that ensures that the wood you receive was grown sustainably.

Featured Resources

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
(Best Practices Manual Volume 2, Interior Surfaces and Finishes Section, Guideline IS5: Wood Flooring) CHPS aims to facilitate the design of high performance schools in California - environments that are not only resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit and contain the amenities needed for a quality education. CHPS has developed a set of Best Practices Manuals (available at to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization founded in 1993 to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests. The Forest Stewardship Council has introduced an international labeling scheme for forest products, which provides a credible guarantee that the product comes from a well-managed forest. All forest products carrying the FSC logo have been independently certified as coming from forests that meet the internationally recognized FSC Principles and Criteria of Forest Stewardship.

The Certified Forest Products Council
The Certified Forest Products Council is an independent, not-for-profit, voluntary business initiative established in 1997. It is committed to promoting responsible forest products buying practices throughout North America in an effort to improve forest management practices worldwide. The Certified Forest Products Council is committed to helping make your organization a leader in the purchase, use, and/or sale of environmentally responsible forest products.
ForestWorld features information on sustainable wood purchasing. Included on this informative website are research tools geared to educate the user about forestry practices, overview of the marketplace, consulting service, among other aspects of the site.

ForestEthics works to educate individual consumers, large corporate purchasers and distributors so they are aware of the environmental impacts and ethical dimensions of their purchasing decisions. This site has a lot of informative material concerning the movement to use sustainable wood products.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) - Green Building Materials
CIWMB's website provides a discussion and recommendations on material use and choice for sustainable building projects as well as products directories that identify products with environmentally beneficial attributes.

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