Embodied GHG Emissions of Wooden Buildings—Challenges of Biogenic Carbon Accounting in Current LCA Methods

C. E. Andersen, F. N. Rasmussen, G. Habert and H. Birgisdóttir

When it comes to carbon quantification of building materials there are three materials that get most focus: steel, concrete and timber.

Steel and concrete quantification have their complexity but if you are really looking to test yourself try quantifying timber!

The challenge is this:

> Timber is made from trees

> Trees absorb carbon

> When timber has served its intended life cycle all (…well almost all) the carbon that has been stored in the timber is released, either by way of decomposition (if sent to landfill) or combustion (if used as a fuel).

With timber, Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) is brought into the equation and its sustainability is therefore embedded in how we manage our forests.

“For instance, human managed land has proven to have an enormous impact on the environments’ ability to sequester carbon (Jørgensen, 2014; De Rosa et al., 2018; Stiebert et al., 2019; Hoxha et al., 2020). Therefore, land use and land use change are important aspects to consider when evaluating if increasing the use of wood in buildings can, in fact, reduce the environmental impact of buildings.”

For one of the best papers on the challenges associated with GHG quantification of timber, read this excellent piece of work:

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