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Green Hammer Builds Nation's First FSC-Certified Building

10.20.11 by the Green Hammer Team

Two residential projects in the Portland area built by Green Hammer will use solely wood sourced from responsible sources. Because home construction typically involves many sources and types of wood, the accomplishment is a major one, and the projects are the first of their kind in the country, according to Stephen Aiguier, Green Hammer founder and CEO.

The design-build firm has been committed to building homes as sustainably as possible since 2002. When clients rian Kirkpatrick and Bettina von Hagen wanted to built an addition with wood harvested from local and responsibly managed forests, Green Hammer suggested aiming for 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood.

FSC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world s forests, had primarily focused its oversight on raw wood and consumer products made from that wood chairs, tables and cabinets. Making a standard for a house became the next logical step, Aiguier said. Up until then, Green Hammer had been specifying about 90 percent FSC-compliant wood. Urban Timberworks, Green Hammer's sister company, is an FSC wood supplier. Because Green Hammer was committed to sourcing sustainable wood, the contractor had already become the first builder in North America to earn an FSC Chain of Custody certificate, a designation that ensures that FSC certified wood is tracked from certified forests through processing to the end consumer.

Completed in 2010, the Kirkpatrick-von Hagen project is a 360-sq.ft., two-story live/work addition to a 1926 bungalow in SE Portland's Sellwood neighborhood. It was constructed using pre-fabricated panel sections, so the building was erected within three days. Cedar shiplap paneled ceilings, exposed Douglas fir beams, and cedar siding from a local forest are finished with a clear coat to show its natural beauty. By using wood, the addition meets the Passive House standard. 

The project recently received an honorable mention in FSC's annual awards. It was also featured in the Build It Green! Home Tour hosted by the City of Portland in September. Green Hammer hopes to make FSC wood the benchmark for all future projects, and set the bar for others. "We are trying to set an example for the entire building community," Aiguier says. 

Ryan Temple of Sustainable Northwest Wood, an FSC wood supplier for Green Hammer, says the market for FSC-certified wood has tripled in the last five years. It's a bright spot in an otherwise down market for wood products, he says. 

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