Life Cycle Impacts of Manufacturing Redwood Decking in Northern California


  • Richard D. Bergman
  • Elaine Oneil
  • Ivan L. Eastin
  • Han-Sup Han


Redwood decking, life cycle assessment, greenhouse gases, manufacturing, environmental impacts


Awareness of the environmental footprint of building construction and use has led to increasing interest in green building. Defining a green building is an evolving process with life cycle inventory and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) emerging as key tools in that evolution and definition process. This study used LCIA to determine the environmental footprint associated with manufacturing 38- x 138-mm redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) decking from sustainably managed northern California redwood forests. Primary survey data were collected from four redwood mills that represent 90% of redwood lumber production. The primary data were then weight-averaged on a per-unit basis of 1 m3 of planed redwood decking (380 oven-dry kg/m3) to calculate material flows and energy use. All of the raw material consumption and environmental outputs were assigned to dry planed redwood decking and none to coproducts. The gate-to-gate, cumulative energy consumption associated with manufacturing 1 m3 of planed redwood decking from 1.8 m3 of incoming logs was 1.36 GJ/m3 with 19% of the energy provided by burning wood residues. Emission data produced through modeling the production process found that the estimated biomass and fossil CO2 emissions were 20.9 and 52.9 kg/m3, respectively. Based on the carbon content of redwood of 53%, a cubic meter of 38- x 138-mm redwood decking product stores 201 kg of carbon and if released into the atmosphere would emit 738 kg of CO2. The amount of carbon stored in redwood decking is equivalent to about 10 times the total CO2 emissions released during the manufacturing process. Low carbon emissions during the manufacturing process and carbon storage during the service life of a redwood deck are positive environmental attributes that should be considered when selecting a decking product.


ASMI (2014) ATHENA impact estimator for buildings. Version 4.5. ATHENA Sustainable Materials Institute, Ottawa, Ontario.'>http://www.athenasmi.orgnAWC (2014) Environmental product declaration: Redwood decking. American Wood Council, Leesburg, VA. 14 pp.'> JC (2011) TRACI 2.0: The tool for the reduction and assessment of chemical and other environmental impacts 2.0. Clean Technol Envir 13:687-696.nBarrette BR, Gedney DR, Oswald DD (1970) California timber industries—1968. Mill characteristics and wood supply. Division of Forestry, State of California, San Francisco, CA. 117 pp.nBergman RD (2010) Drying and control of moisture content and dimensional changes. Pages 13-1-13-20 in RJ Ross, ed, Wood handbook: Wood as an engineering material. Gen Tech Rep FPL-GTR-113 USDA For Serv Forest Prod Lab, Madison, WI.nBergman RD, Bowe SA (2010) Environmental impact of manufacturing softwood lumber determined by life-cycle inventory. Wood Fiber Sci 42(CORRIM Special Issue):67-78.nBergman RD, Han H, Oneil E, Eastin IL (2013) Life-cycle assessment of redwood decking in the United States with a comparison to three other decking materials. CORRIM Final Report. University of Washington, Seattle, WA. 101 pp.nBinam K (2013) President, Western Wood Products Association, Portland, OR. Personal communication with R Bergman (25 February 2013).nBinam K (2014) President, Western Wood Products Association, Portland, OR. Personal communication with R Bergman (1 January 2014).nBowyer J, Howe J, Stai S, Trusty W, Bratkovich S, Fernholz K (2012) The international green construction code implications for materials selection in commercial construction. Dovetail Partners, Inc, Minneapolis, MN. 16 pp. (11 March 2014).'>ão M, Levasseur A (2011) Assessing temporary carbon storage in life-cycle assessment and carbon footprinting: Outcome of an expert workshop. 7-8 October 2010. Ispra, Italy. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.nCORRIM (2010) Research guidelines for life-cycle inventories. Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials, Inc., University of Washington, Seattle, WA. 40 pp.nDenig J, Wengert EM, Simpson WT (2000) Drying hardwood lumber. Gen Tech Rep FPL-GTR-118 USDA For Serv Forest Prod Lab, Madison, WI. 138 pp.nEIA (2014) Independent statistics and analysis: Glossary (H). United States Energy Information Association. Washington, DC.'> (2012) eGRID2012 Version 1.0 Year 2009 GHG Annual Output Emission Rates. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, DC.'> (2010) Life cycle inventory of 100% postconsumer HDPE and PET recycled resin from postconsumer containers and packaging. Franklin Associates. Prairie Village, KS. 198 pp.'> (2011) Cradle-to-gate life cycle inventory of nine plastic resins and four polyurethane precursors. Franklin Associates, Prairie Village, KS. 73 pp.'> MA (2005) The measurement of roundwood: Methodologies and conversion ratios. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, MA. 269 pp.nFPInnovations (2011) Product Category Rule (PCR): For preparing an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for North American Structural and Architectural Wood Products. UN CPC 31. NAICS 21. FPInnovations, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 17 pp.'> HS, Oneil E, Bergman RD, Eastin IL (2014) Life cycle impacts of redwood forest resource harvesting in northern California (submitted to a journal and out for review).nIPCC (2006) Task force on national greenhouse gas inventories. Prepared by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme. Pages 4.1-4.83 in HS Eggleston, K Buendia, K Miwa, T Ngara, and K Tanabe, eds. International Panel on Climate Change Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. IGES, Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan.nIsenberg IH, Harder ML, Louden L (1980) Pulpwoods of the United States and Canada: Volume 1—Conifers. Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, WI. 219 pp.nISO (2006a) Environmental management—Life-cycle assessment—Principles and framework. ISO 14040. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland. 20 pp.nISO (2006b) Environmental management—Life-cycle assessment—Requirements and guidelines. ISO 14044. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland. 46 pp.nJones DA, O'Hara KL (2012) Carbon density in managed coast redwood stands: Implications for forest carbon estimation. International Journal of Forest Research 85(1):99-110.nMahalle L, O'Connor J (2009) Life cycle assessment of western red cedar siding, decking, and alternative products. FPInnovations-Forintek Division, Western Region, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 126 pp.nMHC (2010) Green outlook 2011: Trends driving change. McGraw-Hill Construction, New York, NY. 32 pp.nMHC (2012) 2013 Dodge construction green outlook. McGraw-Hill Construction, New York, NY. 32 pp.nMilota MR (2004) Softwood lumber—Pacific Northwest Region. CORRIM Phase I Final Report Module B. University of Washington, Seattle, WA.'> MR, Wes CD, Hartley ID (2005) Gate-to-gate life inventory of softwood lumber production. Wood Fiber Sci 37(Special Issue):47-57.nNREL (2014) Life-cycle inventory database project. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO.'> N, Cinnirella S, Feng X, Finkelman RB, Friedli HR, Leaner J, Mason R, Mukherjee AB, Stracher GB, Streets DG, Telmer K (2010) Global mercury emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic and natural sources. Atmos Chem Phys 10:5951-5964.nPRé Consultants (2014) SimaPro 7 life-cycle assessment software package, Version 7. Plotter 12, 3821 BB Amersfoort, The Netherlands.'> ME, Bergman RD, Hubbard S, Johnson L, Lippke B, Wagner F (2010a) Cradle-to-gate life-cycle inventories of US wood products production—CORRIM Phase I and Phase II Products. Wood Fiber Sci 42 (CORRIM Special Issue):15-28.nPuettmann ME, Wagner FG, Johnson LF (2010b) Life-cycle inventory of softwood lumber from the Inland West US. Wood Fiber Sci 42(CORRIM Special Issue):52-66.nPuettmann ME, Wilson JB (2005) Life-cycle analysis of wood products: Cradle-to-gate LCI of residential wood building materials. Wood Fiber Sci 37(Special Issue):18-29.nRitter MA, Skog KE, Bergman RD (2011) Science supporting the economic and environmental benefits of using wood and wood products in green building construction. Gen Tech Rep FPL-GTR-206. USDA For Serv Forest Prod Lab, Madison, WI. 9 pp.nSimpson WT (1991) Dry kiln operator's manual. Agric Handb 188. USDA For Serv Forest Prod Lab, Madison, WI. 274 pp.nTodrewas NE, Kazimi MS (1995) Nuclear system I—Thermal hydraulics fundamentals. Taylor and Francis, Philadelphia, PA. Page 2, Table 1-1.nUSDOC (1995) Lumber production and mill stocks-1994. US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Washington, DC.'> (2006) Lumber production and mill stocks—2005. US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Washington, DC.'> (2011) Lumber production and mill stocks—2010. US Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Washington, DC.'> (2014) New privately owned housing units started: Seasonally adjusted annual rate. US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC.'> (2012) 2011 buildings energy data book. Chapter 1: Buildings Sector. 1.1 Buildings Sector Energy Consumption. US Department of Energy. 286 pp.'> MC (2010) Characteristics and availability of commercially important woods. Pages 2-1-2-45 in RJ Ross, ed, Wood handbook: Wood as an engineering material. Gen Tech Rep FPL-GTR-113. USDA For Serv Forest Prod Lab, Madison, WI.n






Research Contributions