LEED uses the 500 mile radius as the benchmark for local materials. I don’t know why they picked that number. But it is as good as any I guess. 500 is what you could cover in one long day if you were really hauling it. By car, that is….

I don’t think you want more than 500 miles.

Keeping things local is important in construction. It takes a lot of machinery and gas to transport heavy construction materials. It puts a toll on the actual tar mac of the roads and also clogs the road traffic. There’s nothing like driving along side an 18 wheeler to get your adrenaline going.

Here is a map of a 500 mile radius around Brooklyn, New York. You can source materials all the into Canada and a good way down south. If you can’t get the material in this 500 mile radius then maybe you should ask yourself if you should be building with it in the first place.

Notice China and Europe are not on the map. I guess that knocks out your custom German cabinets and nice Chinese Bamboo…

If you want to build green then buy local. If you buy local it keeps the money local. It reduces the cost of the material (a truck guzzles a lot of gas. I reduces the carbon foot print.

Or even better, don’t buy, salvage. Local salvaging is like cleaning up neighborhood garbage but ten times better. It is more like rescuing an abandoned little kitten from certain death (yes it is that good!). If you salvage wood you save it from a rotting landfill and give a loving home, or it gives you a loving home if you build with it…