Life Cycle Assessment of Wood Products

Life Cycle Assessment of Wood Products

November 18, 2021

What do you know about life cycle assessment? To put it simply, it is a tool to analyze the impact of materials to the environment, with the result of the analysis contributing towards sustainability.

Such an assessment can quantify the potential environmental danger of a product, such as global warming, ozone depletion, acidification, and smog. It can also quantify aspects like energy consumption, resources consumption, and waste generation. Knowing its impacts, there is no doubt that the goal, time, scope, and data source of the life cycle assessment of a product has to be determined properly.

How Important is Life Cycle Assessment?

Life cycle assessment is needed because a construction will leave a carbon footprint. To quantify the environmental impact of a project, starting from its beginning until the end, the concept of carbon in materials exists, which is measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (kg CO2 eq).

The data from the assessment will benefit governments, contractors, and architects with quantitative data about environmental impacts. This data can be used to identify areas that can be improved in a product or building.

How Does the Assessment Work for Wood Products?

Life cycle assessment can analyze the whole lifetime of a wood product, starting from its planting, production, construction, usage, and end of use, including the decomposition of the product.

Such a comprehensive assessment has long been applied to complete buildings made of wood, such as houses and apartments. Multiple wood products, such as floor coverings, window frames, furniture, and multiple kinds of boards have also been analyzed with life cycle assessment.

Life Cycle Assessment for Wood Products

According to many studies about life cycle assessment of wood products and buildings, they are shown to have less environmental damage compared to other building materials. They also showed that wood has many advantages as a building material.

In general, wood is better for the environment. The energy consumption, greenhouse gas emission, and the quantities of solid waste are generally very low. This makes for an energy-efficient and nature-friendly building.

Natural wood material is less toxic than other building materials. It is good for the air around the building and for the inhabitants of it.

On the flip side, life cycle assessment also showed that wood material which is not properly produced or managed can somehow have some negative effects to nature that other building materials don’t.

First of all, burning wood products create higher acidification and eutrophication. This is bad for the air and ozone quality. Next, chemically-induced products have higher toxicity than its natural counterpart. Although chemically-induced wood has better properties as a building material, its impact to nature is hazardous. Finally, compound wood products such as plywood and fiberboard emit higher greenhouse gas because of its production process.

That is why it is important to choose high quality wood products that comply with all safety and health requirements. As one of the leading wood product manufacturers with constant innovation, Kayu Lapis Indonesia consistently strives for maintaining quality, safety, and sustainability to tackle any issue regarding wood’s life cycle assessment. This is in line with Kayu Lapis Indonesia’s vision, that is to establish a sustainable future through sustainably managed forests and responsible production. Kindly reach us on Instagram for more information on our wood products.

References: Sathre & Gonzalez (2014), ArchDaily, CWC