Life-cycle Analysis of Wood Products: Cradle-to-gate Lci of Residential Wood Building Materials

Maureen E. Puettmann, James B. Wilson

Abstract


This study compares the cradle-to-gate total energy and major emissions for the extraction of raw materials, production, and transportation of the common wood building materials from the CORRIM 2004 reports. A life-cycle inventory produced the raw materials, including fuel resources and emission to air, water, and land for glued-laminated timbers, kiln-dried and green softwood lumber, laminated veneer lumber, softwood plywood, and oriented strandboard. Major findings from these comparisons were that the production of wood products, by the nature of the industry, uses a third of their energy consumption from renewable resources and the remainder from fossil-based, non-renewable resources when the system boundaries consider forest regeneration and harvesting, wood products and resin production, and transportation life-cycle stages. When the system boundaries are reduced to a gate-to-gate (manufacturing life-cycle stage) model for the wood products, the biomass component of the manufacturing energy increases to nearly 50% for most products and as high as 78% for lumber production from the Southeast. The manufacturing life-cycle stage consumed the most energy over all the products when resin is considered part of the production process. Extraction of log resources and transportation of raw materials for production had the least environmental impact.

Keywords


Life-cycle inventory;LCI;wood products;green building materials;cradle-to-gate;energy;emissions

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