Log in
LEED Pilot Credits
LEED Pilot Credit Library
Materials-Related Pilot Credits
Timber Traceability

LEED CREDIT

Pilot-Credits MRpc127: Timber Traceability 1 point

See all forum discussions about this credit »

LEEDuser expert

Jason Grant

Jason Grant Consulting
Principal

LEEDuser’s viewpoint

Frank advice from LEED experts

LEED is changing all the time, and every project is unique. Even seasoned professionals can miss a critical detail and lose a credit or even a prerequisite at the last minute. Our expert advice guides our LEEDuser Premium members and saves you valuable time.

Credit language

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To reduce the risk that illegally sourced, harvested or traded wood products are used in building projects while rewarding transparency and traceability in the forest sector through the application of technological innovation. This pilot credit is designed to align with and support existing approaches to “due care” or “due diligence” (such as third-party certifications/verifications) to assess and mitigate the risk of buying illegal wood.

Requirements

  • Project teams shall identify the country of harvest and wood species (scientific name) for all wood products that are not reclaimed, salvaged or reused.
  • To be eligible for this credit, wood products must constitute at least 5%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed building products in the project or be valued at a minimum of $100,000.
  • At least 50%, by cost, of the permanently installed wood products must meet one of the following traceability/transparency requirements.
    • Low threshold: Samples of the product shall be tested using wood identification technology (see Annex 1) and the results shall not contradict the declared species and origin. Samples shall be accompanied by a map, or maps, of the “supply area(s)” of origin. Products that meet the low threshold are worth 100% of their base contributing cost.
    • Medium threshold: Samples of the product shall be tested and the results shall not contradict the declared species and origin. Samples shall be accompanied by a map of the Forest Management Unit of origin. Products that meet the medium threshold are worth 150% of their base contributing cost.
    • High threshold: In addition to meeting the requirements of one of the preceding thresholds, the product shall be tested and the test results shall corroborate both the declared species as well as the origin of the product. Products that meet the high threshold are worth 200% of their base contributing cost.
  • Samples of wood products or components that originate in countries with elevated risk of illegal logging and/or trade (see Annex 2) shall be tested and the results shall not contradict the declared species and origin. In addition, each product and/or component must be backed by one of the following requirements:
    • Certified to FSC, SFI or PEFC standards.
    • Certified by a third-party legality verification program (see Annex 3).
    • Documentary proof that the products are backed by a FLEGT license accepted under the European Union Timber Regulation.
  • A CITES permit shall be provided for all wood products containing or composed of species listed under CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, see Annex 4)

NOTE: While the systems listed above signal USGBC’s intention to avoid the use of illegally sourced wood in LEED projects, they do not guarantee legality. In order to avoid using illegally sourced wood, which is a crime in many countries, all actors in the value chain should take additional measures to mitigate risk.

Submittals

General

Register for the pilot credit

Credits 126-140

Credit Sprcific

See Timber Traceability Guidance Document for step by step documentation guidance. Use the Timber Traceability Calculator to provide documentation through LEED Online.

Annex 1: Wood Identification Technologies

A wide range of laboratory technologies are being adapted for identification of species and geographic origin for timber products. Wood anatomy, stable isotopes, DNA and mass spectrometry can be useful tools to provide buyers with independent verification of claims from suppliers.

Wood Anatomy

Wood anatomy analysis uses characteristic differences in wood grain, pores and color to verify timber to genus or sub-genus level. Microscopic analysis of wood grain is quick to conduct, requires limited expertise and is very useful for providing at least an indication of the species group involved. However, wood anatomy can rarely provide confirmation of an exact species and is not an indication of geographic region of origin.

Stable Isotope Analysis compares the ratios of common elements within wood samples to verify the harvest origin. Many common elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen occur naturally in different forms, known as isotopes. These are absorbed and incorporated into the molecular structure of timber as trees grow from the soil, water and air. Isotopic analysis involves measuring natural variations in the ratio of these isotopes.

DNA Analysis compares genetic sequences between wood samples to determine the species or origin of the wood. The DNA sequence of timber can be compared using genetic techniques. However, the success rate for extraction of usable DNA sequences from wood products is currently low.

DART-TOF Mass Spectrometry is one of the newest techniques being used in wood identification and is a specific version of Mass Spectrometry (MS), an analytical technique that measures the masses of all of the unique chemicals within a wood sample. The specific compounds and relative amounts of each compound found within wood can have environmental as well as genetic links, thereby establishing a chemical fingerprint that has the possibility to be unique both for species identification as well as region of origin. Though promising for its ease of use and low cost, the application of DART-TOF Mass Spectrometry in wood forensics is currently at an early stage of development.

Annex 2: Country of Forest Origin Risk Categorization

Follow these steps to determine if a country has an elevated risk of illegal logging and/or trade for the purposes of filling the requirements of this credit:

  1. Go to the Transparency International website: https://www.transparency.org
  2. Click on the world map with the heading “Corruption Perceptions Index [YEAR]”
  3. Scroll down to the Results Table. If a country has a score of 50 or less in the most recent year, then it is considered to have elevated risk.

Other useful resources for learning about and assessing the risk of illegal timber harvesting and trade include:

Annex 3: Legality Verification Programs

Annex 4: CITES-listed Timber Species

CITES-Listed Tree Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a table of Current CITES Listings of Tree Species, but for the most up-to-date listing information, search the CITES Species Database, Species+, developed by UNEP-WCMC and the CITES Secretariat.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service table: http://www.fws.gov/international/plants/current-cites-listings-of-tree-species.html

CITES Species Database: http://www.speciesplus.net/species

See all forum discussions about this credit »

What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Documentation toolkit

The motherlode of cheat sheets

LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit is loaded with calculators to help assess credit compliance, tracking spreadsheets for materials, sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions, and examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects for you to check your work against. To get your plaque, start with the right toolkit.

LEEDuser expert

Jason Grant

Jason Grant Consulting
Principal

Get the inside scoop

Our editors have written a detailed analysis of nearly every LEED credit, and LEEDuser premium members get full access. We’ll tell you whether the credit is easy to accomplish or better left alone, and we provide insider tips on how to document it successfully.

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To reduce the risk that illegally sourced, harvested or traded wood products are used in building projects while rewarding transparency and traceability in the forest sector through the application of technological innovation. This pilot credit is designed to align with and support existing approaches to “due care” or “due diligence” (such as third-party certifications/verifications) to assess and mitigate the risk of buying illegal wood.

Requirements

  • Project teams shall identify the country of harvest and wood species (scientific name) for all wood products that are not reclaimed, salvaged or reused.
  • To be eligible for this credit, wood products must constitute at least 5%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed building products in the project or be valued at a minimum of $100,000.
  • At least 50%, by cost, of the permanently installed wood products must meet one of the following traceability/transparency requirements.
    • Low threshold: Samples of the product shall be tested using wood identification technology (see Annex 1) and the results shall not contradict the declared species and origin. Samples shall be accompanied by a map, or maps, of the “supply area(s)” of origin. Products that meet the low threshold are worth 100% of their base contributing cost.
    • Medium threshold: Samples of the product shall be tested and the results shall not contradict the declared species and origin. Samples shall be accompanied by a map of the Forest Management Unit of origin. Products that meet the medium threshold are worth 150% of their base contributing cost.
    • High threshold: In addition to meeting the requirements of one of the preceding thresholds, the product shall be tested and the test results shall corroborate both the declared species as well as the origin of the product. Products that meet the high threshold are worth 200% of their base contributing cost.
  • Samples of wood products or components that originate in countries with elevated risk of illegal logging and/or trade (see Annex 2) shall be tested and the results shall not contradict the declared species and origin. In addition, each product and/or component must be backed by one of the following requirements:
    • Certified to FSC, SFI or PEFC standards.
    • Certified by a third-party legality verification program (see Annex 3).
    • Documentary proof that the products are backed by a FLEGT license accepted under the European Union Timber Regulation.
  • A CITES permit shall be provided for all wood products containing or composed of species listed under CITES (Convention on Trade in Endangered Species, see Annex 4)

NOTE: While the systems listed above signal USGBC’s intention to avoid the use of illegally sourced wood in LEED projects, they do not guarantee legality. In order to avoid using illegally sourced wood, which is a crime in many countries, all actors in the value chain should take additional measures to mitigate risk.

Submittals

General

Register for the pilot credit

Credits 126-140

Credit Sprcific

See Timber Traceability Guidance Document for step by step documentation guidance. Use the Timber Traceability Calculator to provide documentation through LEED Online.

Annex 1: Wood Identification Technologies

A wide range of laboratory technologies are being adapted for identification of species and geographic origin for timber products. Wood anatomy, stable isotopes, DNA and mass spectrometry can be useful tools to provide buyers with independent verification of claims from suppliers.

Wood Anatomy

Wood anatomy analysis uses characteristic differences in wood grain, pores and color to verify timber to genus or sub-genus level. Microscopic analysis of wood grain is quick to conduct, requires limited expertise and is very useful for providing at least an indication of the species group involved. However, wood anatomy can rarely provide confirmation of an exact species and is not an indication of geographic region of origin.

Stable Isotope Analysis compares the ratios of common elements within wood samples to verify the harvest origin. Many common elements, such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen occur naturally in different forms, known as isotopes. These are absorbed and incorporated into the molecular structure of timber as trees grow from the soil, water and air. Isotopic analysis involves measuring natural variations in the ratio of these isotopes.

DNA Analysis compares genetic sequences between wood samples to determine the species or origin of the wood. The DNA sequence of timber can be compared using genetic techniques. However, the success rate for extraction of usable DNA sequences from wood products is currently low.

DART-TOF Mass Spectrometry is one of the newest techniques being used in wood identification and is a specific version of Mass Spectrometry (MS), an analytical technique that measures the masses of all of the unique chemicals within a wood sample. The specific compounds and relative amounts of each compound found within wood can have environmental as well as genetic links, thereby establishing a chemical fingerprint that has the possibility to be unique both for species identification as well as region of origin. Though promising for its ease of use and low cost, the application of DART-TOF Mass Spectrometry in wood forensics is currently at an early stage of development.

Annex 2: Country of Forest Origin Risk Categorization

Follow these steps to determine if a country has an elevated risk of illegal logging and/or trade for the purposes of filling the requirements of this credit:

  1. Go to the Transparency International website: https://www.transparency.org
  2. Click on the world map with the heading “Corruption Perceptions Index [YEAR]”
  3. Scroll down to the Results Table. If a country has a score of 50 or less in the most recent year, then it is considered to have elevated risk.

Other useful resources for learning about and assessing the risk of illegal timber harvesting and trade include:

Annex 3: Legality Verification Programs

Annex 4: CITES-listed Timber Species

CITES-Listed Tree Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a table of Current CITES Listings of Tree Species, but for the most up-to-date listing information, search the CITES Species Database, Species+, developed by UNEP-WCMC and the CITES Secretariat.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service table: http://www.fws.gov/international/plants/current-cites-listings-of-tree-species.html

CITES Species Database: http://www.speciesplus.net/species

LEEDuser expert

Jason Grant

Jason Grant Consulting
Principal

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Pilot-Credits MRpc127