Many actions have been taken to decrease the operational energy use in buildings. However, with higher energy efficiency standards, the focus is increasingly shifting to energy demand for the production of building materials and the related greenhouse gas emissions. When moving towards zero emission buildings, the developments of more sustainable bearing structure are of interest. A six story housing complex was constructed in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2012 with a structure made of laminated veneer lumber floor elements and glue laminated beams and columns. The use of laminated veneer lumber has the advantage of being a light weight solution.
Building with wood in Norway is generally regarded as a carbon efficient solution, but the impact of additional materials such as glue and insulation can influence the overall results is of interest. Life cycle assessment is used as a tool to calculate the carbon footprint in the production of the main building materials of the structure. The goal of the assessment is to compare the wood structure as built with an equivalent steel and concrete structure and to optimise the use of materials. The scope of the assessment includes the foundation and elevator shaft, structural beams and columns and the floor elements. The results indicate that the steel and concrete alternative have about 35% higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the as built wood solution, but that almost half of the total emissions are related to the foundation and elevator shaft.