Credit 3.3: Environmentally Friendly Building Products
This credit awards points to discourage using toxic chemicals or chemically treated wood in the construction and maintenance of overwater structures, or landscaping structures in riparian areas.
Where this credit applies
This credit applies to whole site and shoreline/riparian development in marine and lake environments. It applies particularly to any projects that may involve the use of treated wood in overwater structures (docks, piers, etc.) and landscaping in the riparian buffer.
This credit offers up to 4 base points.
|Environmentally friendly building products||
|Use untreated building materials for posts and pilings in docks and piers||
|Use untreated materials for other structural elements (beams, struts, etc.) in docks and piers||
|Use untreated materials for wharf and pier decking surfaces and landscaping elements that are in the riparian buffer||
|Do not use paints or stains on overwater structures – leave surfaces to weather naturally||
How to proceed
Wood products such as western red cedar and redwood have natural properties that help them resist rot. New technologies have also been used to reduce the ability of wood to absorb water, thereby reducing its rate of decomposition. These include coating wood in glass fibers (glass wood) and treating wood with acetic acid to create a water barrier. Alternative products to wood such as pre-cast concrete or aluminum that do not leach chemicals can also be considered. All of these products can be used for structural elements.
Plastic wood (made from recycled plastic) can be used for decking and cladding (it is not suitable for use as a structural element). Recycled plastic wood is commercially available in a variety of colours that does not require staining.
To achieve this credit:
- Use natural rather than treated wood products whenever possible.
- If treated wood has to be used, look for the treated wood BMP logo (see previous page) or a certificate of compliance issued and signed by an independent treated-wood inspection agency. Do all cutting in an upland area well away from any drainages, to reduce the risk of the saw dust entering the aquatic ecosystem.
- Use decking materials that will not require toxic finishes and cleaning agents; no matter how careful you are in their application, some will end up in the water. Metal, fiberglass or plastic grating, recycled plastic lumber and naturally rot-resistant wood can help avoid these problems.
- If you have or install wood decking, let it age rather than paint or stain it, as these materials flake off and can harm aquatic organisms. Use colour impregnated plastic wood where decking colour is desired.
 See the BMP guide published by the Western Wood Preservers Institute (listed under “For more information”) for more information about certified treated wood.
For more information
BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. 2013. Guidelines for Use of Treated Wood in and Around Aquatic Environments and Disposal of Treated Wood. 6p. Go to http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/publications/repopubs.htm and enter “treated wood” in the search box.
NOAA. 2009. The Use of Treated Wood Products in Aquatic Environments: Guidelines for West Coast NOAA Fisheries Staff. Go to www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov and enter “treated wood products” in the search box.
Seattle, City of. 2011. Green Shorelines: Bulkhead alternatives for a healthier Lake Washington. 34 pg. (See section on “Building better docks”). Go to www.seattle.gov/dpd/ and enter “green shorelines”in the search box.
Western Wood Preservers Institute. 2012. Treated Wood in Aquatic Environments. 36 p. and Best Management Practices for the Use of Treated Wood in Aquatic and Wetland Environments. 36 p. http://www.wwpinstitute.org/aquatics.html (The BMP guide is aimed primarily at treated wood manufacturers and commercial installers, but provides useful information about the different types of treated wood and their appropriate application.)