SFI sponsors education module highlighting benefits of building with SFI-certified wood to architects, builders; CEO says release of unit developed by McGraw Hill highlights need for USGBC to clarify position on alternative certification systems to FSC

WASHINGTON , June 5, 2013 (press release) – The June issue of Architectural Record includes a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) for architects and builders describing the benefits of using responsibly managed forest products certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) Standard.

"SFI Inc. is sponsoring the CEU, 'Sustainable Building with SFI Certified Wood', to help educate architects, designers and builders because they make decisions every day that can affect the future of our forests," said Kathy Abusow , President and CEO of SFI Inc. "We want the construction industry to make the connection that thriving markets for forest products help forests thrive. When those markets fail, private forest lands are at risk of conversion to other non-forest uses."

The article and CEU are timely, as the U.S. Green Building Council membership will be voting this month on new LEED requirements that state "wood or paper products must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or USGBC approved equivalent." This prevents wood products certified to the SFI Standard and the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) from earning LEED credit.

"It is critical that USGBC make clear the process and criteria for determining the 'USGBC approved equivalent'," said Linda Casey , State Forester for Alabama, whose Governor recently issued an executive order that requires public buildings to accept other forest certification programs like SFI and American Tree Farm System. "The sooner USGBC recognizes SFI and ATFS the better. With only 10 percent of the world's forests certified, we can't afford for USGBC to be the source of conflict and division among organizations that all support responsible forestry."

"This CEU helps show that wood from responsibly managed forests is a great choice for building projects," said Dr. Richard W. Brinker , Ph.D., Dean Emeritus, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University. "And it also brings to light some very real challenges for architects, builders and our nation's forest landowners with how LEED recognizes forest certification."

The CEU appears in this month's print version of Architectural Record along with a link to online-only content with additional information and in-depth explanations and descriptions. McGraw Hill Construction, who publishes Architectural Record, developed the SFI-sponsored CEU. Architects and builders can earn a continuing education credit through the American Institute of Architects by reading the article and taking a free online test. Also, the CEU is approved for one Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) continuing education hour for LEED Credential Maintenance. To view the CEU and take the test, visit McGraw Hill Construction's Continuing Education Center at http://ceu.construction.com/article.php?L=282&C=1106.

About Sustainable Forestry Initiative
SFI Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that is solely responsible for maintaining, overseeing and improving the internationally recognized Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) program. Across Canada and the United States, more than 240 million acres (around 100 million hectares) are certified to the SFI forest management standard. In addition, the SFI program's unique fiber sourcing requirements promote responsible forest management on all suppliers' lands. SFI chain-of-custody (COC) certification tracks the percentage of fiber from certified forests, certified sourcing and post-consumer recycled content. SFI on-product labels identify both certified sourcing and COC claims to help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions. SFI Inc. is governed by a three-chamber board of directors representing environmental, social and economic sectors equally. Learn more at SFI's website and the Top 10 Reasons LEED Should Recognize All Credible Forest Certification Standards.

SOURCE Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc.

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