So you want to do a "green building" project. Where can you go to learn about certifications for green building programs? You currently have three primary options in North America, although many states and cities often offer additional options (or make specific requirements.)

The U.S. Green Building Council runs LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), perhaps the best-known green building certification system. The Canadian version is at: www.cagbc.org.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has developed the NAHB Green Building Program. You can locate participating builders (or become one yourself) here.

Among many other resources, the program has an online tool to help homeowners and builders look at projects from a green prospective.

If you want more ideas on green building, you might check out BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method). This is a British program that is expanding throughout Europe. The website offers some good ideas and also has a document that can be downloaded that compares LEED and BREEAM and other programs. 

Generally, categories relevant to wood flooring include certified floors (FSC-only in the case of the LEED program), engineered flooring that is urea-formaldehyde free, bamboo and other rapidly renewable materials, flooring produced with recycled materials, and using low-VOC paints and glues during installation.

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")