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Sustainable Northwest Trim, Decking, and Lumber

Sustainable Northwest Wood offers FSC-certified trim, decking, and lumber sourced from the Pacific Northwest… Read more
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  • Growing and harvesting our building materials would be a great way to move toward a closed-loop system rather than a linear path from extraction to disposal. Doing so holds the promise of true sustainability and regeneration of ecosystems instead of damage to them.

    Unfortunately, biobased materials today can be at least as problematic as any other material. Intensive land use, chemical use, fuel use, nutrient runoff, and other pollution are among the impacts of agriculture; add to that competition between food crops and those used for building materials or fuel. We would like to see sustainable use of biobased materials, but improving practices and figuring out how to assess and document more sustainable practices will take a long time. There is no ready equivalent to FSC for biobased materials that aren’t wood, although certification to “organic” standards or other sustainable agriculture standards can provide guidance in some cases.

    At the same time, we don’t want to exclude biobased products that are typically responsibly sourced just because they don’t have a certification—particularly where they replace more problematic materials. GreenSpec continues to give preference to rapidly renewable alternatives to materials that present greater concerns. Examples of rapidly renewable materials in GreenSpec include linoleum, cork, and textiles such as wool, sisal, and organic cotton.

Tristan Roberts
Editorial Director

Sustainable Northwest Wood offers FSC-certified trim, decking, and lumber sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The trim, including base molding and interior door and window trim, is milled from Pacific Albus, a cottonwood/poplar hybrid from northern Oregon. Available in 1x4 and 1x6 dimensions in 10' and 12' lengths, the trim is pre-primed with zero-VOC primer. Sustainable Northwest Wood also offers decking made of Western Red Cedar from Oregon and Washington, available in 8' to 16' lengths, and Douglas Fir lumber in 2x4 to 6x6 dimensions in 8' to 20' lengths.

GreenSpec lists wood decking that is made of FSC-certified wood or reclaimed wood. Greenspec also lists Preserved-Wood Decking that provides enhanced durability without the environmental concerns of typical wood preservatives.

Some companies listed here may sell both FSC-certified and noncertified products or carry other types of certification that don't qualify for GreenSpec. To ensure the use of environmentally responsible wood products, be sure to specify FSC-certified wood when contacting these companies. Tropical hardwoods are particularly vulnerable to logging, however, so GreenSpec only lists tropical hardwood decking products that are sold exclusively with FSC certification.

GreenSpec lists wood framing lumber that is made of FSC-certified wood or reclaimed wood. Greenspec also lists Preserved-Wood Framing Lumber that provides enhanced durability without the environmental concerns of conventional wood preservatives.

Some companies listed here may sell both FSC-certified and noncertified products or carry other types of certification that don't qualify for GreenSpec. To ensure the use of environmentally responsible wood products, be sure to specify FSC-certified wood when buying from these companies.

Pressures on timber supply are especially acute for high-visibility, solid-wood products like window sash and molding, which have traditionally been produced from old-growth trees. GreenSpec lists millwork that is made of FSC-certified wood, reclaimed wood, fiberboard, or agricultural fiber such as straw.

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) molding made from post-industrial wood wastes is an excellent substitute for paint-grade moldings. The consistent quality and economical price of MDF moldings is broadening its market share. Some MDF is available with a non-formaldehyde binder.

With similar qualities to wood particleboard and Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), straw particleboard is made from the stems left over after harvesting the cereal grains, such as wheat, oats, and rice. This is a substitute for paint-grade moldings, offering consistent quality and economy, though it is somewhat rougher and more porous than MDF and does not mill as smoothly. Straw particleboard is made using a non-formaldehyde PMDI binder.

Be aware that reclaimed wood may contain lead paint; testing is recommended if lead paint residue is suspected.

Some companies listed here may sell both FSC-certified and noncertified products or carry other types of certification that don't qualify for GreenSpec. To ensure the use of environmentally responsible wood products, be sure to specify FSC-certified wood when contacting these companies.

GreenSpec lists wood flooring that is made of FSC-certified wood, reclaimed wood, or suppressed wood.

The availability of domestic hardwood from third-party FSC-certified forests makes flooring a great application for certified wood. Some companies listed here sell both certified and noncertified wood products, or products that have been certified according to different, less stringent environmental standards.To make certain that you get environmentally responsible wood products, be sure to specify FSC-certified wood.

The availability of reclaimed-wood flooring may vary by region. White pine, longleaf yellow pine, cypress, oak, walnut, and chestnut reclaimed-wood flooring may be available from Eastern and Midwestern suppliers. Western suppliers commonly stock Douglas fir. Plan your needs with plenty of lead time, as availability and pricing fluctuate widely.


Suppressed wood comes from trees growing in the understory of mature forests—usually where forestry practices have prevented fires, so natural thinning and succession hasn't occurred. It is now generally recognized that overly dense forests increase fire hazard and leave trees vulnerable to insect infestation and disease. These small, slow-growing trees were once regarded as waste, suitable only for fuel and firewood. Attributes of these trees include close grain, fine texture, and small tight knots. This can provide a raw material for joinery, flooring, and panels.

LEED Credits

MRc6: Certified Wood

MRc7: Certified Wood

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