Many eco–conscious consumers think LEED certification and hardwood floors are two
things that just don’t mix when,
in fact, they can. Hardwood floors are being used in LEED certified green homes and business all around the world.
For those that don’t know what LEED is, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was created by
the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED offers a Green Build Rating System that uses a point scale rate and
certify eco–friendly homes and buildings. There are five categories that you can earn LEED credits in to have your home
or building LEED certified. The first four categories involve water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, innovation and
design process, energy and atmosphere, and sustainable sites. The last category is and the use of eco–friendly
building resources and materials, which includes eco–friendly flooring such as bamboo, cork, and some hardwood floors.
You can use hardwood flooring to contribute toward earning LEED credits by using hardwood that is certified by the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC), has no added formaldehyde, and/or uses recycled content. You can find hardwood floors that
contribute toward LEED certification at several retailers including EcoTimber, Green Building Supply, and Wood Monsters.
There are four LEED certification levels available – Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. A common misconception
is that there are LEED certified products available. An eco–friendly hardwood floor by itself cannot earn LEED
certification. Instead, installing green hardwood flooring can contribute toward a building and home earning LEED points.
The home or business then receives the LEED certification, not the products themselves. In fact, most eco–friendly
products such as green hardwood floors can only contribute toward earning a portion of the LEED point, not the whole point
itself, let alone earn its own certification as many flooring manufacturers misrepresent.