News Analysis

U.K. Homes Rating System Recognizes FSC, SFI

Equal recognition making waves across the Atlantic

The Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) EcoHomes environmental rating system for homes in Great Britain recently gave equal weight in its procurement guidelines to wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and by the Sustainable Forests Initiative (SFI). The move is making waves across the Atlantic because FSC, an international movement that pioneered modern wood certification, is currently the only certification program recognized in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System, but a recent proposal could give second-tier recognition to SFI, an industry-led program, and others (see EBN Vol. 15, No. 6).

Issued in April 2006, the new EcoHomes guidelines from BRE establish a four-tier system, with more points available to projects that use wood from higher-tier programs. FSC, SFI, and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) program are the three top-tier standards. In forming its guidelines, BRE chose to follow the lead of the Central Point on Expertise in Timber Procurement (CPET), a British government program that assesses the sustainability of the forest certification schemes most commonly encountered in the British supply chain. CPET analyzed FSC, SFI, and the other programs on such criteria as legal compliance, sustainability, accreditation, and chain-of-custody processes. Following an initial assessment, SFI needed to make improvements and to be re-assessed six months later, but it now exceeds FSC’s overall score within CPET.

Published August 29, 2006

Roberts, T. (2006, August 29). U.K. Homes Rating System Recognizes FSC, SFI. Retrieved from