As softwood lumber prices reach new heights, home builders may want to consider high-performance building strategies to use less lumber, suggests the National Association of Home Builders. Lumber prices are now up to nearly $1,000 per thousand board feet, increasing the cost of a home by nearly $24,000, according to NAHB estimates. To lower the demand on the timber industry and reduce the amount of lumber used, builders may look toward sustainable timber, such as SFI- and FSC-certified lumber. Builders can also find solutions in the National Green Building Standard Green Certification standards, such as using building materials with recycled content and regional materials.
One way to decipher how wood is harvested is to check if the material has been certified to a standard by an independent organization, such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) or the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC). Home Innovation Research Labs also certifies green products (including wood and engineered wood products), and using those products can earn points toward the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Green Certification.
Below are a few examples of practices within the 2020 NGBS that address issues related to sourcing, usage reduction, recycled content and pollutant minimization for wood products:
Chapter 6 Resource Efficiency – 2(1) “Structural systems are implemented that reduce and optimize material usage. Minimum structural member sizes necessary in accordance with advanced framing techniques.” 3 points available for 601.2(1), 9 points max for 601.2.
Chapter 6 Resource Efficiency – 2(2) “At least 2 responsible or certified wood-based products are used as major components of the building.” 4 points available.