Moving to address the use of wood as an environmentally friendly building material, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), said it will weigh two proposed changes to the LEED rating system it has established. Specifically, the council will consider revisions to the LEED wood and bio-based materials credit processes. USGBC said the move is in response to "escalating debate" over wood and wood-related LEED certification.

"As a board, we're committed to decisive action and continuous improvement," said Kevin Hydes, USGBC's chairman. "To that end, we look to USGBC's consensus processes and the wisdom of its membership to swiftly reach a conclusion that both supports the intent of LEED's Materials & Resources credits to foster a sustainable materials economy and keeps the market moving."

One proposed revision focuses on changing the Materials and Resources Credit 6 from a rapidly renewable credit into a bio-based credit. This would pave the way for certified wood from the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Canadian Standards Association to receive bio-based credits.

The second revision would effect the Materials and Resources Credit 7, which would change from a wood-only credit to one that recognizes certified bio-based materials. The USGBC said that under the revision, emerging certification systems for bamboo, cork and agricultural products would be eligible for credits.