The building sector is increasingly identified as being energy and carbon intensive. Although the majority of emissions are linked to energy usage during the operation part of a building's life cycle, choice of construction materials could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental end-point damages. Increasing the use of wood products in buildings may contribute to the solution, but their environmental impacts are difficult to assess and quantify because they depend on a variety of uncertain parameters. The present cradle-to-gate life-cycle analysis (LCA) focuses exclusively on a glued-laminated wood product (glulam) produced from North American boreal forests located in the province of Quebec, Canada. This study uses primary data to quantify the environmental impacts of all necessary stages of products' life cycle, from harvesting the primary resources, to manufacturing the transformed product into glulam. The functional unit is 1 m3 of glulam. This is the first study based on primary data pertaining to Quebec's boreal forest. Quebec's boreal glulam manufacturing was compared with two other LCAs on glulam in Europe and the United States. Our results show that Quebec's glulam has a significantly smaller environmental footprint than what is reported in the literature. From an LCA perspective, there is a significant advantage to producing glulam in Quebec, compared with the European and American contexts. The same holds true in regard to the four end-point damage categories.
The Canadian Wood Council commissioned the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute to update the Institute’s 2012 cradle-to-gate LCA of Canadian glulam production in support of a joint N. American environmental product declaration (EPD) initiative. Consequently, the previous research has been updated with new primary gate-to-gate production data, revised background data, and this new report. This research has been completed in accordance with the most recent version of FPInnovations PCR for North American Structural and Architectural Wood Products.
Over the past several decades, environmental issues have become an increasing priority for both government and private industry alike. Here in North America the emphasis has gradually broadened from site-specific environmental degradation to include the characterization of product burdens. Similarly, many private companies and/or their respective trade associations have increasingly emphasized environmental information and often share this information with their customers in the form of a environmental product declaration (EPD). Life cycle assessment (LCA) is the backbone on which a Type III EPD is based.
The use of LCA is growing in the mainstream as green building ratings systems (e.g., LEED V4 and Green Globes), government procurement policies, and pollution prevention programs are contemplating or already incorporating the use of environmental performance measures that can only be objectively provided through a thorough LCA study. Similarly, many product manufacturing companies are adopting “design for the environment” environmental management systems to either reduce the overall mass or material complexity of their products or to streamline their manufacturing processes and consequently reduce environmental burdens emanating from their plants, as well as making it easier for their products to be recycled at their end-of-life.
The Canadian Wood Council commissioned the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute to update the Institute’s 2012 cradle-to-gate LCA of Canadian LVL production in support of a joint N. American environmental product declaration (EPD) initiative. Consequently, the previous research has been updated with new primary gate-to-gate production data, revised background data, and this new report. This research has been completed in accordance with the most recent version of FPInnovations PCR for North American Structural and Architectural Wood Products.
The goal of this study was to update life-cycle assessment (LCA) data associated with laminated veneer lumber (LVL) production in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region of the United States from cradle-to-gate mill output. The authors collected primary mill data from LVL production facilities per Consortium on Research for Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) Research Guidelines. Comparative assertions were not a goal of this study.
The goal of the present study was to develop life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) data associated with gate-to-gate laminated veneer lumber (LVL) production in the southeast (SE) region of the U.S. with the ultimate aim of constructing an updated cradle-to-gate mill output life-cycle assessment (LCA). The authors collected primary (survey) mill data from LVL production facilities per Consortium on Research for Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) Research Guidelines. Comparative assertions were not a goal of the present study.
The improvement of environmental performance in building construction could be achieved by prefabrication. This study quantifies and compares the environmental impacts of a Concrete Glulam Framed Panel (CGFP): the basic configuration of this precast component consists in a Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) frame structure supporting a thin reinforced concrete slab with an interior insulation panel and covered by finishing layers. The research investigates also alternative design of configuration with the substitution of different insulation materials in order to minimize the Embodied Energy and Carbon Footprint values.
The boundary of the quantitative analysis is “cradle to gate” including the structural support system; an IMPACT 2002+ characterization methodology is employed to translate inventory flows into impacts indicators. Results present very low values for carbon footprint (60.63 kg CO2eq m-2) and the embodied energy values (919.44 MJ m-2) indicate this hybrid precast structure as a valid alternative building constructions and processes. A detailed discussion of the outputs is presented, including the comparison of the environmental performances depending on different insulation materials.
FP Innovations engaged the Athena Institute to complete a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of Canadian average cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacture. The cradle-to-gate analysis included primary LCI data collection for the CLT production process that included all material resources, ancillary and energy input flows entering the CLT production facility as well as all emissions to air, water and land associated with the production of the finished product.
This research presents the global warming potential (GWP) from ‘cradle to construction site gate’ for both a hypothetical office building and apartment building, located in New South Wales, Australia. For each building type two different building processes were evaluated: a conventional cast-in-place reinforced concrete framed building and an engineered timber building. The GWP per Gross Floor Area per square metre for the office building was 202 kgCO2-e/m2 [i.e. kilograms of CO2 equivalent gases per square metre] for the reinforced concrete building and only 46 kgCO2-e/m2 for the timber building, less than a quarter as much. The GWP per Gross Floor Area per square metre for the apartment building was 205 kgCO2-e/m2 for the reinforced concrete building and 93 kgCO2-e/m2 for the timber building. The amount of greenhouse gases potentially sequestered in the timber office building was 2,500 tonnes of CO2-e and 1411 tonnes of CO2-e in the timber apartment building.