Determining stocks and flows of structural wood products in single family homes in the United States between 1950 and 2010

Robert A. Sianchuk, Paul N. McFarlane, Emmanuel Ackom, Robert A. Sianchuk

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    The stocks and flows of six major structural wood products (SWPs)-lumber, plywood, oriented strand board [OSB], glue laminated timber, I-joists, and laminated veneer lumber (LVL)-in US single family homes were modeled from 1950 to 2010. The consumption of these products in US single family homes and their emissions as construction and demolition wastes were estimated. The net consumption of SWPs decreased from 119 kg/m2 constructed in 1986 to 82 kg/m2 in 2010. Softwood lumber was consistently the predominant SWP, but its usage intensity decreased from 95 kg/m2 in 1986 to 52 kg/ m2 in 2010. Since the 1980s, modern SWPs, such as I-joists, LVL, and OSB, have replaced lumber and plywood products. The needs of the US single family housing industry have been met by a smaller mass of SWPs per unit area constructed. The mass of SWP present in construction wastes was influenced strongly by building cycles. Production of construction waste peaked in 2005, when 3.31 million tonnes of SWPs were produced by 1.72 million single family housing starts. It diminished to 0.874 million tonnes of SWPs as the housing starts fell to 445,000 in 2009. In contrast, the mass of demolition wastes produced was affected substantially by the number of houses in the stock and their half-lives. Approximately 4.5 million tonnes of SWP demolition waste were produced in 2010, and in the same year, the stock of SWPs in US single family homes reached 1,220 million tonnes. © Forest Products Society 2012.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalForest Products Journal
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)90-101
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Construction industry
    • Demolition
    • Housing
    • Laminating
    • Plywood
    • Lumber


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