The Environmental Performance of Renewable Building Materials in the Context of Residential Construction

John Perez-Garcia, Bruce Lippke, David Briggs, James B. Wilson, James Bowyer, Jaime Meil


This paper presents the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) of alternative building materials from forest resource regeneration or mineral extraction through product manufacturing, the assembly of products in constructing a residential home, occupancy and home repairs, and the eventual disposal or recycle. A unique feature of this study's LCA framework is that temporal distribution of events and associated environmental effects during the seed to demolition life cycle were considered by extending the scope to include forest growth through to demolition of the builidng. Our approach was to first conduct LCIs that quantified the energy, resource use, and emissions associated with a particular product, service, or activity. We followed this activity with the assessment of the house, and investigated the potential environmental consequences of energy and resource consumption and waste emissions. Finally we identified improvement opportunities for future research.


Life-cycle inventory;life-cycle assessment;building materials;environmental performance;energy use;carbon emissions

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