MATEC Web Conf.
Volume 120, 2017International Conference on Advances in Sustainable Construction Materials & Civil Engineering Systems (ASCMCES-17)
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Sustainable Concrete Technology|
|Published online||09 August 2017|
A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of alternative material for Australian building construction
1 School of Engineering, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia.
2 School of Engineering, Griffith University, Parklands Drive Southport, Gold Coast, QLD, 4222, Australia.
3 Salisbury Research Centre, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland Government, Australia
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The use of wood is seen as a sustainable alternative to reduce environmental impacts in building and construction sector. The low quality hardwood logs from plantation thinning are enhanced by producing engineered wood such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL). Nevertheless, engineered wood requires the use of chemicals and energy that may reduce its environmental benefits. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to compare the environmental performance of LVL produced from forestry thinning and final harvest to steel and concrete. The functional unit used in this study was a 1-m-long structural beam in a continuous beam system of 6-m-span designed according to the Australian standards. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) and embedded energy were assessed. The results indicated that LVL beam from thinned logs presented the lowest GWP impact (5.22kg-CO2-Eq). However, due to significant energy requirements for wood drying, the embedded energy in LVL was 186.78MJ which is only marginally less than steel (216.86MJ) but significantly less than concrete (352.82MJ). LVL from mature hardwood logs had slightly higher GWP than that produced from thinning; mainly due to extra energy and materials consumption in the plantation stage. Furthermore, LVL produced from mature trees had higher embedded energy than steel.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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