American Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture
ISSN (Print): 2328-398X ISSN (Online): 2328-3998 Website: Editor-in-chief: Mohammad Arif Kamal
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American Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture. 2013, 1(6), 122-128
DOI: 10.12691/ajcea-1-6-2
Open AccessReview Article

The Environmental Profile of Wood in the Building Industry Today: Comments on the Results of Some LCA Studies

Chiara Piccardo1, and Adriano Magliocco1

1Department of Architectural Sciences, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

Pub. Date: September 11, 2013

Cite this paper:
Chiara Piccardo and Adriano Magliocco. The Environmental Profile of Wood in the Building Industry Today: Comments on the Results of Some LCA Studies. American Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture. 2013; 1(6):122-128. doi: 10.12691/ajcea-1-6-2


In the last years, following the technological progress in wood processing industry and the increased use of wood-based products in construction industry, the scientific community has investigated the environmental performances of wood-base building materials and their substitution potential of energy-intensive material.The article describes and comments the results of a representative sample of LCA studies, most of them published in international journals or in free access research reports. All analyzed LCA studies compare wood, as a building system, with other materials and construction technologies (such as reinforced concrete, steal and masonry); these studies highlight the potential of wood-based building materials to improve the environmental performances of construction industry besides the possible negative aspects related to the wood product manufacturing and the construction process. Some methodological limits are considered comparing LCA results among selected studies, because of the variability of the case studies, the subjectivity of the system boundary definition and the differences between the referenced data sources. However the comparative purpose of this analysis provides an interesting framework of the current research and highlights how timber buildings and wood-based products could still improve their environmental performances during all life cycle stages. Wood, as construction material, could increase its competitiveness in building industry thanks to its environmental performances, starting from its renewable source and its carbon storing potential.

wood LCA studies embodied energy Global Warming Potential

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