How to get the most sustainable new construction lumber!

Buy Local.  Buy FSC.

The lumber industry has invented some confusing certification programs. They are all basically green washing.

The best option for off the shelf lumberis FSC. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood.  Any product that is FSC certified should have the FSC stamp on the product. If it does not do not trust that the wood is sustainably harvested. It may be but there is no guarantee.  Although many in the industry are opposed to this program, No viable alternative has been proposed that can guarantee to the consumer that the forest is truly sustainably managed.

Avoid the forest industry greenwash label of SFI.(notice the "accidental" similarity to FSC!) It sets the bar of sustainability way too low.

Also locally owned and operated mills can be a good option.  But you must establish a relationship with the owner/operators.  Local does not equal sustainable.  Although family owned companies sometimes have an incentive to steward the land for their future generations for their family much more so then corporateowned lumber companies.



Mead Clark Lumber (see website for up to date stock lists URL in company list section)


Mead Clark Lumber (see website for up to date stock lists URL in company list section)

Interior Trim including, base, case, and crown.

stocked locally at Home Depot

Caution: The representatives at the pro desk have often said to me that all Home Depots wood stock is FSC certified. But that is not the case, only items that have the FSC stamp on the product itself are FSC certified.

Prefabricated Wood Products

FSC Trusses

Mead Clark Lumber (see website for up to date stock lists URL in company list section)

FSC Gluelam Beams

Mead Clark Lumber (see website for up to date stock lists URL in company list section)

Green Building Educational Programs

SSU Green Building for Professionals Certificate Program

A one-year long weekend program that gives a broad and complete overview of green building issues.

New College of California, Eco-Dwelling Program

Has a Masters program that focuses on natural building and deep ecology as related to the built environment.

Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

This is a deep ecology living center that provides intensive courses in permaculture year round.

Regenerative Design Institute

Offers intensive programs in Natural building and Permaculture

PO Box 923 Bolinas, CA 94924 415-868-9681 

The Solar Living Institute

Offers a wide array of programs on Alternative energy production, permaculture and self sufficiency

Solar Living Center 13771 S. Highway 101 Hopland, CA

Sonoma County Green Building Material Best Products and Companies

Green Materials Product with local sources of retailers and wholesalers


Fiberglass Batt

Guardian Insulation

GreenGuard certified in insure good indoor air quality.

Mead Clark Lumber (see website for up to date stock lists URL in company list section)

Recycled denim

Golden State Lumber

Blown in Cellulose

Coast Building Products



FSC certified/Reclaimed Custom Built

Liberty Valley Door
Mead Clark


The industry standard for greenest window is the Integrity line by Marvin Windows and Doors.

Han Window Company

Mead Clark


FSC or reclaimed custom built WIndows
Sebastopol Window Company


Although Vinyl is long lasting and low maintenance, the toxic dioxin made in the manufacturing process may over compenate for these benefits.  Some estimates say that 1 once of dioxin is enough to kill 1 million people.


Basically try to get your cabinet maker to use FSC certified wood and a low or no VOC glue based particle board such as Purebond.

Lincoln Street Builders: Will build cabinets made withFSC certified wood or Purbond particle board (low VOC soy based glue particle board)

Floors etc.

Hardwood, Wool Carpet, Natural Fiber carpet and rugs, Area Rugs, Sisal, Cork, Paper,Bamboo, Linoleum, Window Coverings

There are many suppliers of flooring throughout the county but hands down the one that has demonstrated the highest level of commitment to sustainability and widest array of eco-friendly products is

Hendricksen Naturlich Flooring in Sebastopol, CA.


In general all products offered by Henkel are the best on the market.  They have a line called the OSI Greenseries.  This line is green guard certified which is the industry standard for indoor air quality certification.  According to one local supplier, Henkel greenseries is the same product as their main line.  I have not verified this with the company but would not be surprised if it were true.  So I recommend the Greenseries by Henkel which will promote third party independent verification in the industry therby promoting trust-worthy green certification programs . But also, Henkel as a company has displayed a true commitment to green on many levels so their other products may be a good choice as well and may be just as good in terms of indoor air quality and even better on the budget..

Henkel GreenSeries:  GreenGuard Certified

General purpose construction adhesive, acrylic urethane sealant, flame Seal ,drywall and panel adhesive, subfloor and deck adhesive.

Available at Mead Clark Lumber

Henkel Mainline products

General purpose construction adhesive, acrylic urethane sealant, flame Seal ,drywall and panel adhesive, subfloor and deck adhesive.

Available at Healdsburg Lumber


High fly ash content concrete.

Shamrock Concrete Ready-Mix & Trailer-Haul:

401 E Washington St
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 765-8570

Energy efficient appliances

In general I recommend Bosch.  They consistently drive the industry forward in sustainability and performance.

The best local supplier

Tee Vax (see most sustainable Company list for contact details)

The Energy Star Web site has a great list of all energy star qualified products. If you click on the Kwhs tab on the product list, the list will sort by highest energy efficiency to lowest.


In general you can get compact flourescents at most local suppliers.  I do not surrently have one source that stands out as the leader in sustianability in our area.

Web resources

A great listing of many of the best web based green building resources
Bay area wide list green building resources including professionals and civic leaders
National Resources for Green Construction

Associations & Licensing
ASE Alliance to Save Energy (
ASES American Solar Energy Society (
AWEA American Wind Energy Association (
BAGBP Bay Area Green Business Program (
BBB Better Business Bureau (
BMRA Building Materials Reuse Association (
CALSEIA California Solar Energy Industries Association (
CGF Community Greenhouse Foundation (
CMRA Construction Materials Recycling Association (
CSLB Contractors State Licensing Board (
Diamond Certified (
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (
DTSC California Department of Toxic Substances Control (
GBA The Green Building Alliance (
GG Global Green USA (
IAQC American Indoor Air Quality Council (
NABCEP North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (
NARI National Association of the Remodeling Industry (
NASEO National Association of State Energy Officials (
NCBE North Coast Builders Exchange (
NFPA National Fluid Power Association (
NPPR National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (
NSUS The Natural Step (
PPRC Pollution Prevention Resource Center (
SBIC Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (
SEC Sustainable Energy Coalition (
SWCS Soil Water Conservation Society (
USGBC United States Green Building Council (

Media & Web Resources
Eco-Structure Magazine
Environmental Building News
Environmental Design and Construction
Green Builder Magazine
The Green Builder News
Greensource: The Magazine of Sustainable Design
Home Energy Magazine
Sustainable Industries Journal