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Madison, WI 53726-2398
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Title: The Carbon Impacts of Wood Products

Source: Forest Prod. J. Volume 64, Number 7/8, 2014; pp. 220–231.

Author(s)Bergman, Richard, PhD.; Puettmann, Maureen; Taylor, Adam; Skog, Kenneth E.

Publication Year: 2014  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4851-7B

Abstract: Wood 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.

Keywords: storage; wood; substitution; alternatives; GHG; carbon; bio-energy

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 801 kb(s)

Date posted: 12/22/2014

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 71727
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
Bergman, Richard
Research Forest Products Technologist
Skog, Kenneth E.
Supervisory Research Forester
 

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