Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society conference
The use of timber construction products and their environmental impacts is growing in Europe. This paper examines the LCA approach adopted in the European CEN/TC350 standards, which are expected to improve the comparability and availability of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). The embodied energy and carbon (EE and EC) of timber products is discussed quantitatively, with a case study of the Forte building illustrating the significance of End-of-Life (EoL) impacts. The relative importance of timber in the context of all construction materials is analysed using a new LCA tool, Butterfly. The tool calculates EE and EC at each life cycle stage, and results show that timber products are likely to account for the bulk of the EoL impacts for a typical UK domestic building.
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Cross laminated timber (CLT) has recently increased in use as a building material for low carbon design and is often applied in small and multi-story buildings. Several studies have shown lower fossil related greenhouse gas emission than alternatives, but the life cycle emissions vary substantially between different CLT producers. These emissions are mainly indirect and thus climate change mitigation could reduce these emissions. Previous research shows that that biofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are technologies that have the potential to reduce the climate impacts of the CLT life cycle. This study assesses the impacts on climate change from CLT with these technologies within the framework of environmental product declarations (EPD). In the short run, switching to fossil free fuels provides a reduction in the carbon footprint of CLT. In the long run, CCS at the end-of-life of CLT buildings can provide a net negative carbon footprint over the life cycle. This assessment on the use of CLT is mainly related to the Sustainable Development Goal SDG9 Industries, innovation and infrastructure and the indicator for CO2 emissions per value added, so the assessment in this paper is mainly focused on this goal. SDG7 on affordable and clean energy and SDG15 Life on land are also relevant.
Mass timber products such as cross-laminated timber have increased in popularity in the past decades. Their relative novelty, however, means that there is little actual experience of what happens to the products at end of life. Despite promoting the use of natural capital, biotic materials are not often covered in discussions on construction in the circular economy. Equally, it is unclear what model is most appropriate for construction to incorporate circular thinking. Different actions for circularity are reviewed against sustainable construction ambitions, and a simple model with basic circular actions is proposed as a means to review mass timber construction. Suggestions for how to adapt mass timber systems to include circular methods are presented, including design for combined manufacture and assembly and disassembly, the identification of future markets, improving the durability of timber buildings and acknowledging the wider system value of forestry.
Although standards have identified temporary carbon storage as an important element to consider in wood product LCAs, there has been no consensus on a methodology for its accounting. This work aims to improve the accounting of carbon storage and fluxes in long-life wood products in LCA. Biogenic carbon from harvested roundwood logs were tracked using the Carbon Budget Model Framework for Harvested Wood Products (CBMF-HWP). Carbon flows through wood product manufacturing, building life and end-of-life phases, and carbon stocks and fluxes from harvest to the atmosphere were estimated. To cover the products commonly used in the Canadian building industry, a range of softwood products types, provinces and territories and building lifetimes were considered. In addition, policy scenarios were considered in order to model the effects of dynamic parameters through time as a policy target is reached. Most wood products have similar emissions profiles, though cross-laminated timber has higher sawmill emissions and oriented-strand board has higher initial post-demolition emissions. The region of construction is also predictive of the initial post-demolition emissions. Higher recycling rates shift materials from landfills into subsequent product systems, thus avoiding landfill emissions. Landfill decay rates are affected by climate and results in a large range of landfill emissions. The degree of postponement of end-of-life emissions is highly dependent upon the wood product type, region and building lifespan parameters. This work develops biogenic carbon profiles that allows for modelling dynamic cradle-to-grave LCAs of Canadian wood products.
More and more people live in cities. The building industry is responsible for 33% of waste production and is set to increase further to 50% in 2025. The energy efficiency is continuously increased, but the waste production at the end of life of a building is largely ignored. This design proposes a solution in the form of a zero-waste high-rise design. It uses only recyclable or renewable materials. Mass-timber is chosen as the main material as it is not only renewable and easily reusable, it is also a storage of CO2. The design reuses the foundation of existing buildings, and with the lightweight properties of mass-timber, increases the density on the location by building taller. The design is four times taller as the current buildings. To allow for sustainable densification, the design offers public and collective qualities. The building has been designed is such a way to be easily refitted during its life cycle or to be completely disassembled at the end of life.