In an effort to encourage contractors to build with home-grown wood, the Georgia Legislature is considering a ban on LEED certifications, which favor wood registered through the Forest Stewardship Council.
The measure, which a Georgia Senate committee passed on Monday, is “a fairness and ‘protect Georgia jobs bill,’ to be honest with you,” the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Mike Cheokas, said during a legislative hearing. The ban would apply to state-funded buildings.
The state’s 20 million-acre timber industry has claimed that LEED standards discriminate against the use of locally grown wood that is not FSC-registered. The Georgia Forestry Association estimates that just 32,000 acres of local wood meet the LEED standard.
More than 100 state-owned buildings in Georgia have been built to LEED standards. The proposal, which does not mention LEED by name, would require state agencies to use Georgia forest products and follow green building standards that offer credit for non-FSC tree certification programs.
Approximately 4.7 million acres of the state's private forests are certified under standards that do not qualify for LEED credit.