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Developing a dynamic life cycle greenhouse gas emission inventory for wood construction for two different end-of-life scenarios



Author(s): R.D. Bergman, J. Salazar and S. Bowe
Paper category: symposium
Book title: International Symposium on Life Cycle Assessment and Construction – Civil engineering and buildings
Editor(s): A. Ventura and C. de la Roche
Print ISBN: 978-2-35158-127-8
e-ISBN: 978-2-35158-128-5
Publisher: RILEM Publications SARL
Pages: 318 – 325 (+ 226 pages of appendixes)
Total Pages: 234
Language: English


Abstract: Static life cycle assessment does not fully describe the carbon footprint of construction wood because of carbon changes in the forest and product pools over time. This study developed a dynamic greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory approach using US Forest Service and life-cycle data to estimate GHG emissions on construction wood for two different end-of-life scenarios. Biogenic and fossil GHG emissions sources included a growing forest, logging slash, softwood lumber manufacturing, residue decay and combustion, and product in the landfill. The two scenarios focused on 1) disposing of old wood and logging forests for new construction wood and 2) reusing the old construction wood instead of making new and landfilling the old wood. GHG emissions covered a 100-year time-period and were allocated to 1.0 m3 of softwood lumber produced for two different forests and harvesting rates. Reusing old construction wood had lower GHG emissions initially. However, using new wood would eventually have lower GHG emissions because logged forests regrow and absorb carbon faster and for a longer time than unlogged forests. The paper shows the critical time delay in forest carbon re-accumulating from logging forests may be problematic in mitigating climate change in the short-term but unlikely in the long-term.

Keywords: carbon, forest, building products, new, recovered, dynamic Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)


Online publication: 2012
Publication Type: full_text
Public price (Euros): 0.00


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