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The Carbon Impacts of Wood ProductsAuthor(s): Richard Bergman; Maureen Puettmann; Adam Taylor; Kenneth E. Skog
Source: Forest Prod. J. Volume 64, Number 7/8, 2014; pp. 220–231.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Forest Products Laboratory
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DescriptionWood products have many environmental advantages over nonwood alternatives. Documenting and publicizing these merits helps the future competitiveness of wood when climate change impacts are being considered. The manufacture of wood products requires less fossil fuel than nonwood alternative building materials such as concrete, metals, or plastics. By nature, wood is composed of carbon that is captured from the atmosphere during tree growth. These two effects—substitution and sequestration—are why the carbon impact of wood products is favorable. This article shows greenhouse gas emission savings for a range of wood products by comparing (1) net wood product carbon emissions from forest cradle–to–mill output gate minus carbon storage over product use life with (2) cradle-to-gate carbon emissions for substitute nonwood products. The study assumes sustainable forest management practices will be used for the duration of the time for the forest to regrow completely from when the wood was removed for product production during harvesting. The article describes how the carbon impact factors were developed for wood products such as framing lumber, flooring, moulding, and utility poles. Estimates of carbon emissions saved per unit of wood product used are based on the following: (1) gross carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from wood product production, (2) CO2 from biofuels combusted and used for energy during manufacturing, (3) carbon stored in the final product, and (4) fossil CO2 emissions from the production of nonwood alternatives. The results show notable carbon emissions savings when wood products are used in constructing buildings in place of nonwood alternatives.
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CitationBergman, Richard; Puettmann, Maureen; Taylor, Adam; Skog, Kenneth E. 2014. The Carbon Impacts of Wood Products. Forest Prod. J. Volume 64, Number 7/8, 2014; pp. 220–231.
Keywordsstorage, wood, substitution, alternatives, GHG, carbon, bio-energy
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