Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) uses a 500-mile radius as its measurement of how locally transported a material is [source: LEED]. There are an enormous variety of opportunities to access local wood, if you know where to look.
Local Wood Sources:
- Local Mills/Lumberyards: Locally-owned lumber sources tend to be smaller, so there will be less waste and fewer production emissions. Check your local business listings to see if there is a saw mill within driving distance of you.
- Construction/De-construction Sites: If you volunteer your time to help with a local deconstruction project, you could be rewarded with all kinds of wood leftover from your hard work.
- Bulky Item Garbage Day: Most metro areas have a day (or days) each year in which the local waste management is willing to handle larger pieces of furniture. People will start pitching their old furniture (including cabinets and other wood products) into the front yard as soon as the announcement fliers go out. Troll your neighborhood in the days leading up to bulky item day -- you never know what you might find.
- Arborists: Most areas have local arborists and tree surgeons listed in the business pages. Your local tree surgeon will know when they're taking down a large tree and can advise you who to contact if you're interested in claiming the wood.
If you're an amateur or professional carpenter, consider local wood sources as a green option for your kitchen cabinets. Even if you hire a pro to do the cutting and measuring, you'll still be saving money -- and the Earth -- by opting to go with reclaimed and local woods.