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Wood and timber can be used throughout construction projects in all situations. As well as being functional it is also pleasing to the eye with many people preferring its look and feel over metal or concrete. It is important to know where the wood has come from when green building to decide if it is a viable alternative to other materials. Some situations require great rigidity or strength and this is where metal comes in, but 25% of houses in the UK are now entirely timber framed. There is a very slight movement, especially during early stages, in timber framed houses compared to brick or concrete construction.

See Wood types >

Also visit Timber Building > and
Timber building diary > sections for more details.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organisation whose mission is 'to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests'. This means that timber which is supplied as certified by the FSC has come from a sustainable source and is environmentally friendly.

A rival certification organisation has been set up, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) by the forest industry. However it is important to note that whilst the FSC enjoys endorsements from Greenpeace and the WWF the PEFC has not been endorsed by any environmental group. Their green credentials are not as clear.

In fact it is much derided as 'greenwash' as the minimum standard required to receive PEFC certification is low and varies considerably from country to country.

There is also no monitoring of habitat, and old forest can be felled.

So try and use proper FSC timber, or at least European softwoods rather than any hardwood.

If you want to use hardwood for doors make sure it is marked FSC. The wood is sometimes coloured blue to make it obvious - see the image above.

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