Comparative life cycle assessment of cross laminated timber building and concrete building with special focus on biogenic carbon

Julie Hansted Andersen, Nana Lin Rasmussen, Morten Walbech Ryberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This study conducted a consequential Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on two similar mid-rise apartment buildings applying either concrete or cross laminated timber (CLT) as the main structural material. The study further investigated inclusion of biogenic carbon and how this affects environmental impacts related to Global warming. Thus, two assessment scenarios were applied: A Base scenario, without accounting for biogenic carbon and a Biogenic carbon scenario that include a GWPbio factor to account for the use of biogenic carbon. The CLT building had the lowest impact score in 11 of 18 impact categories including Global warming. Operational energy use was the main contributor to the total impact with some variation across impact scores, but closely followed by impacts embodied in materials (incl. End-of-Life). An evaluation of the potential forest transformations required for fulfilling future projections for new building construction in 2060 showed that about 3% of current global forest area would be needed. This share was essentially independent of the selected building material as the main driver for forest transformation was found to be energy use during building operation. Thus, focus should primarily be on reducing deforestation related to energy generation rather than deforestation from production of building materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111604
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume254
Number of pages10
ISSN0378-7788
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Buildings
  • Biogenic carbon
  • Cross laminated timber
  • Forest transformation

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