Things to Use



Wood and Wood Alternatives

 Woods marked as FSC certified (Forestry Stewardship Council) guarantee natural beauty as well as a commitment to forestland sustainability. Both hard woods and soft woods are available with FSC certification in a variety of species. Suppliers of FSC wood are now plentiful, so it makes the most sense to look for FSC lumber locally.

To learn more about certified wood:

  • Forest Stewardship Council: a company that researches products, and puts its stamp of approval on qualifying products.This way, consumers can recognize the mark and make an environmentally sound decision on their purchase.
  • Scientific Certification Systems: An independent certification organization. They are accredited by the FSC to certify well-managed forests and forest products.
  • SmartWood: Part of an international conservation organization called the Rainforest Alliance. Also accredited by the FSC for their certification program.
  • Canadian Standards Association: This organization creates standards to certify products. Certified wood is just one category in their standards.
  • Forest Certification Resource Center : This site is a tool for researching where specific wood species come from, if they come from a respectfully managed forest, and if specific retailers are buying certified wood.
  • American Forest and Paper Association : This organization strives to be a source for correct information for statistics and facts about wood products.


Sustainably harvested certified wood products come from well-managed forests. Third party certification organizations create a system of standards to ensure that the product is environmentally responsible.

Allard Lumber wholesales FSC certified northern hardwood lumber. This includes white hard maple, red oak, and cherry.

  • Allard Lumber Company
    Brattleboro, VT
  • Offers a variety of FSC certified lumber. Harvested from Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

    Midwest Hardwood Corporation
    Maple Grove, MN
  • This company offers FSC certified lumber, flooring, wainscoting, and veneer in over 15 species. Harvested in Pennsylvania.

    McDowell Lumber Company, Inc.
    Crosby PA,
  • The Home Depot is a nationwide chain that sells FSC certified lumber.
  • This company provides a variety of environmentally friendly building products for the home, included certified wood.

    Building for Health
    Carbondale, CO
  • Certified lumber for cabinets

    Timbergreen Farm
    Spring Green, WI

    Sustainable Woods Co-op
    Lone Rock, WI


Reclaimed lumber is a source of wood products that are beautiful and strong, and that help decrease the demand on forest resources. The wood is salvaged from sources such as old buildings, railroad trestles, or sunken logs at the bottom or rivers.

  • Reclaimed timbers, pilings & poles

    Building for Health
    Carbondale, CO

    Vintage Timberworks
  • Salvaged wood from water and wine tanks, mills, and river-recovery logs. Can be used for plank wood flooring and a variety of other wood products.

    A Reclaimed Lumber Co.
    Madison, CT
  • Reclaimed wood flooring and other products in oak, cherry, chestnut, white pine and more. Matching stair parts available.

    Aged Woods/Yesteryears Floorworks Company
    York, PA
  • Reclaimed lumber from disassembled old barn beams.

    Saugerties, NY
  • Salvaged products including lumber, beams and timbers. Custom remilling available.

    Caldwell Building Wreckers
    San Francisco, CA

    Glenville Timberwrights
    Baraboo, WI

    McCloud, CA


Sheet materials make up a significant part of a construction process. There are two important things to consider when buying sheet material like plywood. First, learn about the formaldehyde content of the product. Formaldehyde is a common component in the binders used to hold the wood particles together. The gasses produced from this chemical are probable human carcinogens. The second important consideration is to make sure the product is FSC certified.

Hardwood Plywood for cabinetry

Softwood Plywood for cabinetry

  • Certified softwood fir plywood

    Roseburg Forest Products
    Roseburg, OR

Particle Board & Sheathing

  • Offers formaldehyde free particle board made of 100% recycled wood or 100% post-consumer wood waste.

    Sierra Pine
    Roseville, CA
  • Certified particleboard

    Collins Companies
    Portland, OR
  • Particleboard made form sustained yield forest resources and/or recycled millwork chips.

    Rodman Industries
    Marinette, WI 54153

  • Sheathing made form 100% recycled wastepaper. No urea, formaldehyde or asbestos. Sound deadening, twice the insulation of wood.

    Homasote, Inc.
    West Trenton, NJ


  • Certified as an Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) by the Composite Panel Association, ATC Panel’s Evrpanels contain 100% recycled and recovered wood waste.

    ATC Panels
    Moncure, NC
  • Bamboo Paneling

    Teragren LLC
    Bainbridge Island, WA
  • Certified and reclaimed pine paneling

    Robbins Lumber
    Searsmount, ME
  • Certified rustic hardwood tongue and groove paneling from Wisconsin Family Forests

    Samsel, Ltd.
    Hancock, WI

Alternative Interior Wall Systems:


Building with natural materials such as earth, sand, clay, and straw creates long lasting surfaces that have an inherent natural look. The refreshing quality of nature can be brought indoors with these building methods. Some of these methods can be used to build entire homes, but for the purpose of exhibit building, could be used on a much smaller scale for their aesthetic qualities.

  • STRAW CLAY: Rich clay is mixed with wheat straw and tamped down into a mold from the top. When dried the forms are removed and the wall is covered with another layer of clay with small bits of straw mixed in and sealed with linseed oil. Makes beautiful interior walls.
  • RAMMED EARTH: Soil composed of clay and sand is compressed into a form, creating a very smooth surface. Walls are usually about a foot thick, and provide great thermal control. If done correctly, the resulting structures are extremely durable. (The Great Wall of China is made mostly of rammed earth!)
  • CORDWOOD: This building process uses small pieces of wood that might normally be discarded or used for firewood. The small logs are layered into place with their ends sticking out. Mortar is applied to connect each log. Other materials can be added to create an interested surface. suggests using glass bottles to bring in light. The end result is a beautiful rustic surface.
  • STRAWBALE: Bales of straw are used as insulation in strawbale construction. The walls are usually framed with wood, filled with straw, and then covered in a stucco finish. Care must be taken to ensure that the bales do not retain moisture to avoid rotting.The finished product provides excellent insulation qualities.

To find out more about any of these building techniques, please visit these websites:

Green Home Building

  • Non-profit community design center specializing in socially conscious and ecologically responsible design. Specialize in straw/clay construction techniques.

    Design Coalition
    Madison, WI
  • Creative team of socially conscious natural builders, specializing in strawbale, straw/clay, earthen and lime plaster and timber framing.

    Acorn Enterprises
    Madison, WI

Alternative boards

  • Wheat Straw Board: these products are made from left over stems after harvesting grains such as wheat, oats, and rice. Can be used as a similar product to MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). The binder used for the product is formaldehyde free.

    • A renewable agricultural product with No VOC's or off-gassing. For use as wall board, in cabinetry or for furniture.

      Environ Biocomposites, LLC.
      Mankato, MN
    • Custom millwork from formaldehyde-free wheatboard. Cabinetry and doors available.

      Ewing, NJ
  • Sunflower Hull Board
    Composite panel made from 85% sunflower hull (Dakota Burl)

    Environ Biocomposites, LLC.
    Mankato, MN
  • Sorghum Stalk Board
    Composed of 100% recycled agricultural fibers (sorghum stalk) and formaldehyde-free, low VOC adhesive.

    Kirei USA
    San Diego, CA
  • Gypsum Wallboard/Drywall
    Reinforced gypsum wallboard made from 95% recycled materials including newsprint (Fiberrock). This company also produces a 99% recycled synthetic sheetrock made from coal burning power plant residue.

    Diboll, TX  75941

Pre-made cabinetry

  • Cabinets made from renewable resources: bamboo, salvaged wood, wheatboard.

    Neil Kelly Signature Cabinets
    Portland, OR
  • Cabinetry made from wheatboard core and wood veneer; formaldehyde free, low-VOC water based adhesives used.

    Lake Oswego, OR
  • Cabinets made with wheatstraw fiberboard cores, veneer made with certified sustainable wood.

    Forefront Designs
    Springfield, OR


  • Plastic Recycled Lumber: Plastic lumber is made from recycled plastics. It is extremely durable and weather resistant. This product decreases demand on forest systems and does not need the chemical treatments used on pressure treated lumber.
    • Plastic lumber made from over 90% HDPE plastic from milk jugs (Evolve)

      Renew Plastics
      Luxemburg, WI
    • Plastic lumber made from recycled milk jugs and shampoo bottles, including structural lumber.

      Plastic Lumber
      Akron, OH

      Trelleborg Engineered Products, Inc.
      Clearbrook, VA

    • A wide array of textures, colors and patterns embedded in environmentally friendly eco-resin panels, with a minimum 40% post-industrial re-grind content. Easily recyclable into highest level PET stream.

      3 Form
      Salt Lake City, UT
  • Decking lumber
    • Decking lumber made from recycled wood and plastic composites

      Timbertech Ltd.
      Wilmington, OH

Miscellaneous Wood Alternatives