This article makes up part of a larger 5-phased project which was initiated by The Nature Conservancy (nature.org) through generous support from The Climate and Land Use Alliance, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). The work upon which this project is based was also funded in whole or in part through a cooperative agreement with the USDA Forest Sustainability 2021, 13, 14034 15 of 16 Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Forest Products Marketing Unit (17-CA-11111169-031) *.
Timber Architecture -- Materials
The building industry currently consumes over a third of energy produced and emits 39% of greenhouse gases globally produced by human activities. The manufacturing of building materials and the construction of buildings make up 11% of those emissions within the sector. Whole-building life-cycle assessment is a holistic and scientific tool to assess multiple environmental impacts with internationally accepted inventory databases. A comparison of the building lifecycle assessment results would help to select materials and designs to reduce total environmental impacts at the early planning stage for architects and developers, and to revise the building code to improve environmental performance. The Nature Conservancy convened a group of researchers and policymakers from governments and non-profit organizations with expertise across wood product life-cycle assessment, forest carbon, and forest products market analysis to address emissions and energy consumption associated with mass timber building solutions. The study disclosed a series of detailed, comparative life-cycle assessments of pairs of buildings using both mass timber and conventional materials. The methodologies used in this study are clearly laid out in this paper for transparency and accountability. A plethora of data exists on the favorable environmental performance of wood as a building material and energy source, and many opportunities appear for research to improve on current practices.
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Gu, H., Liang, S., Pierobon, F., Puettmann, M., Ganguly, I., Chen, C., ... & Maples, I. (2021). Mass timber building Life Cycle Assessment methodology for the US regional case studies. Sustainability, 13(24), 14034.