Annette Hafner, Sebastian Rueter


Since 2012, a set of new standards describing, among other aspects, the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) in the construction sector is available in Europe and provides a framework for consistently assessing the environmental performance of buildings. This article gives an overview of the actual state of art for evaluating the environmental properties of timber buildings in Europe and shows how these methods could be used as a basis for estimating the influence of a possible shift from conventional buildings to timber buildings on the national “Greenhouse Gas (GHG) budget,” whereby Germany serves as an example. Results from up-to-date LCA calculations of residential buildings for Germany are shown on a building level. Then a scaling from the building level to a national level is presented. On the national scale, the potential GHG impact of wood consumption in the building sector is modeled based on an insinuated future increase of the market share of timber buildings. The deviation of future emissions and removals due to the biogenic carbon storage effects for changing scenarios is presented. The approach shows how increasing timber construction (mass timber and timber frame) can contribute to achieving climate protection targets.

Full Text:



Albrecht S, Ruter S, Welling J, Knauf M, Mantau U, Braune

A, Baitz M, Weimar H, Sorgel C, Kreißig J, Deimling S,

Hellwig S (2008) Okologische Potenziale durchHolznutzung

gezielt fordern. Report of the Institute of Wood Technology

and Wood Biology, No. 2008/5. Johann Heinrich von

Thunen Institute (vTI), Hamburg, Germany. 298 pp.

BBSR (2015) Federal Institute for Research on Building,

Urban Affairs and Spatial Development: Oekobau.dat

database. (Version 2015).

BBSR (2016) Federal Institute for Research on Building,

Urban Affairs and Spatial Development: BNB “Bewertungssystem Nachhaltiges Bauen” (Assessment System for Sustainable Building). Federal Institute for Research on

Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, Berlin,


BMI (2018) Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and

Community (BMI): O¨ KOBAUDAT—Sustainable Construction

Information Portal.

BMUB (2011) Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature

Conservation, Construction and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)

: Nutzungsdauern von Bauteilen zur Lebenszyklusanalyse

nach BNB. [Useful Lives of Construction Parts for LCA


Brockmann T (2017) German OKOBAUDAT goes international:

An online infrastructure for LCA as Basis for International Structure. Conference Proc Word Sustainable

Built Environment Conference, Hong Kong, 2017. ISBN


Diederichs S (2014a) Status quo for life cycle inventory and

environmental impact assessment of the core sawmill

products in Germany. Wood Fiber Sci 46(1):65-84.

Diederichs S (2014b) Status quo for life cycle inventory and

environmental impact assessment of wood-based panel

products in Germany. Wood Fiber Sci 46(3):340-355.

EN 15643 (2010) Part 1: Sustainability of construction

works. Sustainability of buildings. General Framework.

European Committee for Standardization.

EN 15978 (2012) Sustainability of construction works –

Assessment of environmental performance of buildings

– Calculation method. European Committee for


EN 16485 (2014) Round and sawn timber – Environmental

Product Declarations – Product category rules for wood

and wood-based products for use in construction. European

Committee for Standardization.

EN 15804 (2014) Sustainability of construction works –

Environmental product declarations – Core rules for the

product category of construction products. European

Committee for Standardization.

EnEV (2009) Energieeinsparverordnung f¨urGeb¨aude 2009. (10 April 2017).

European Commission (EC) (2010) Directive 2010/31/EU of

the European Parliament and the Council on the energy

performance of buildings (26 April 2018).

European Commission (EC) (2014) Communication from the

commission to the European parliament, the council, the

European economic and social committee of the regions.

Resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector. http://¼CELEX:

DC0445&from¼EN (28 June 2017).

FAO (2018) Classification and definitions of forest products / (23

May 2018).

FNR Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e V. [Agency

for Renewable Resources] (2017) Collaborative project

‘Data base for assessing a sustainable and efficient use of

wood in the German construction sector’ (HolzImBauDat).¼11150&fkz¼22016216 /

(23 September 2017).

Hafner A (2017) How building with wood can be linked to

sales of building plots: Results from an exemplary site

development in Munich, Germany. Sustainability 9(6):947.

Hafner A, Schafer S (2017) Comparative LCA study of

different timber and mineral buildings and calculation

method for substitution factors on building level. J Clean

Prod 167:630-642. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.08.203.

Hafner A, Schafer S (2018) Environmental aspects of material

efficiency versus carbon storage in timber buildings.

Eur J Wood Wood Prod 76(3):1045-1059.

Hafner A, et al (ed) (2017) Treibhausgasbilanzierung von

Holzgebauden – Umsetzung neuer Anforderungen an

Okobilanzen und Ermittlung empirischer Substitutionsfaktoren

(THG-Holzbau) [Greenhouse gas balances for timber

buildings – Implementation of new requirements for lifecycle

assessments and calculation of empiric substitution

factors]. Bochum. Projektbericht Waldklimafonds 28W-B-

-054-01. BMEL/BMUB. ISBN: 978-3-00-055101-7.

Heuer E, Baldauf T, Schmitz F, Ruter S (2016) Was tragen

Wald undHolz zumKlimaschutz inDeutschland bei?AFZ –

DerWald 115/2016. [What do forest and wood contribute to

climate protection in Germany?].

ISO/TS 14071 (2014) Environmental management – Life

cycle assessment – Critical review processes and reviewer

competencies: Additional requirements and guidelines to

ISO 14044:2006.

ISO 21930 (2017) Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works – Core rules for environmental product

declarations of construction products and services. International Organization for Standardization.

Ruter S (2012) Umwelt-Produktdeklarationen fur Bauprodukte

nach EN 15804. Holztechnologie 53(4):56-57.

[Environmental Product Declarations of Building Products

according to EN 15804].

Ruter S (2013) Der Umweltbeitrag der Holznutzung. Pages

-97 in P Cheret, K Schwaner, and A Seidel, eds. Urbaner

Holzbau—Chancen und Potenziale fur die Stadt. DOM

Publishers, Berlin, Germany. [The Environmental Contribution

of Wood Utilization].

Ruter S (2016) Harvested Wood Products (4.G). Pages 615-618 in P Gniffke, ed. Submission under the United Nations

Framework Convention on Climate Change 2015—National

Inventory Report for the German Greenhouse Gas Inventory

-2013. Federal Environment Agency, Climate Change

/2016, Dessau, Germany (January 2016).

Ruter S (2017) Der Beitrag der stofflichen Nutzung von Holz

zum Klimaschutz—Das Modell WoodCarbonMonitor.

Technische Universitat Munchen, Wissenschaftszentrum

Weihenstephan f ur Ernahrung, Landnutzung und Umwelt,

doctoral thesis. 270 pp. [The Contribution of the Material

Wood Use to Climate Protection – theWoodCarbonMonitor


Ruter S, Alfredsen G, de Aquino Ximenes F, Guendehou S,

Pingoud K, Tsunetsugu Y, McCusker A (2014) Harvested

Wood Products (Section 2.8). Pages 109-134 in T Hiraishi,

T Krug, K Tanabe, N Srivastava, B Jamsranjav,MFukuda,

and GT Troxler, eds. 2013 Revised Supplementary

Methods and Good Practice Guidance Arising from the

Kyoto Protocol. Published: IPCC, Switzerland.

Ruter S, Diederichs S (2012) Okobilanz-Basisdaten fur

Bauprodukte aus Holz. Report No 2012/01, Thunen-

Institute of Wood Research. 316 pp.

Ruter S, Diederichs S (2017) Abschatzung der Auswirkungen

eines verstarkten Holzeinsatzes im Bausektor auf die

nationale Treibhausgasbilanz. Pages 65-79 in Hafner et al,

ed. Treibhausgasbilanzierung von Holzgebauden –

Umsetzung neuer Anforderungen an Okobilanzen und

Ermittlung empirischer Substitutionsfaktoren (THGHolzbau)

Bochum. Projektbericht Waldklimafonds 28WB-

-054-01. BMEL/BMUB. ISBN: 978-3-00-055101-7.

Sathre R, O’Connor J (2010) A Synthesis of Research on

Wood Products & Greenhouse Gas Impacts. 117 pp. 2nd

Edition. Technical Report No. TR-19R, FP Innovations.

Umweltbundesamt (2017) United Nations Framework

Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol

– National Inventory Report for the German

Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2015. Pages 1091 in P

Gniffke, ed. Umweltbundesamt, Climate Change.

UNFCCC (2012) Report of the CMP on its seventh session,

held in Durban from 28 November to 11 December 2011,

Addendum: Decision 2/CMP.7 on Land use, land-use

change and forestry. FCCC/KP/CMP/2011/10/Add.1.

UNFCCC (2017) United Nations Framework Convention of

Climate Change Meetings – Paris Climate Change ConferenceNovember


paris_nov_2015/meeting/8926.php (17 March 2017).


  • There are currently no refbacks.