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With the global marketplace for sustainability materials estimated to reach almost $574 billion by 2027, securing a strong place for wood is essential to the wood products industry's future growth. That means both telling the positive story of wood's renewable, energy efficient advantages, as well as defending against anti-wood bias in rating systems. Strong, unified industry support is essential as the sustainability battlefield continues to spread from the state to the federal level.

Promoting Wood's Environmental Advantages

More attention is being paid than ever before to how buildings impact the environment, including the choices of materials used in construction and how those materials help conserve energy during operation. Wood is the perfect sustainability material because it is renewable, stores carbon that reduces greenhouse gases, and is energy efficient. Winning acceptance for wood is a challenge, however, as competing materials and certain environmental groups seek to control the U.S. sustainability market.

Additionally, some sustainability rating systems, such as the U.S. sustainability Council's well-known LEED rating system, contain scientifically indefensible biases against wood and many U.S.-sourced wood products. LEED is aggressively seeking a government-sanctioned monopoly on rating systems which would seriously harm the use of U.S. wood products.

Here are some additional links to information and resources:

The industry has fought hard over the past decade to set the record straight on wood and has made impressive progress:

  • Helped bring the wood-friendly Green Globes rating system to the U.S., offering the first competition to LEED, and secured Green Globes inclusion in the federal schools and stimulus bills;
  • Prevented LEED-only legislation in 40 states and won adoption in 19 states of the Green Globes rating system;
  • Influenced green criteria being included in the ASHRAE sustainability minimum requirements standard;
  • Gained a position on the International Code Council's oversight committee for its new sustainability model code—the only wood interest on a committee that will write the first national sustainability code that can be implemented like a mandatory building code;
  • Served on the Green Globes and National sustainability Standard Committees, assuring wood products are rewarded for their environmental characteristics and positive contributions.
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for Wood

The North American wood products industry is committed to sustainability in its products and their use. In support of this commitment, we are pleased to share third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations that describe the environmental performance of many of the products we produce.

Go to EPDs Page.

The Facts: Sustainability, Wood and the Environment

Some in the building and design community have seen a regurgitated “white paper” that includes inaccurate claims about wood. While its bias toward competitor materials and goal of attacking wood is clear, it has nevertheless generated questions. We correct the inaccurate claims.

Get the Facts.


Increasingly, in legislative, regulatory and building code activities affecting construction, there is confusion over what constitutes a “resilient” product or material.

Read more on the AWC Resiliency Page.

Reuse Wood Directory

The American and Canadian Wood Councils have partnered with Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) to develop a North American directory outlining reuse and recycling options for wood and wood products. The online resource lists companies within a searchable geographic area that have agreed to provide reuse and recycling options for wood and wood-based products, for both those looking to provide such products as well as those looking to obtain wood products for reuse.

North American Wood Reuse & Recycling Directory

Other Resources

WoodWorks Carbon Calculator


Wood products continue to store carbon absorbed by the trees during their growth cycle, keeping it out of the atmosphere indefinitely. Using wood in place of fossil fuel-intensive materials also "avoids" greenhouse gases that would have been emitted during manufacturing. Now, it is possible to quantify these benefits for wood buildings.

Athena Institute's Impact Estimator

Impact Estimator

Athena Sustainable Materials Institute has released an update to the Impact Estimator for Buildings, a popular life cycle assessment (LCA) software package for building designers. Changes in this version include insulation and window updates, and adjustments to align with the latest US EPA impact characterization method and with emerging European standards for building declarations.

ThinkWood Resources