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A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of alternative material for Australian building construction

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Lu, H. R., El Hanandeh, A., Gilbert, B. and Bailleres, H. (2017) A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) of alternative material for Australian building construction. In: 1st International Conference on Advances in Sustainable Construction Materials and Civil Engineering Systems, ASCMCES 2017, University of SharjahSharjah; United Arab Emirates.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/matecconf/201712002013


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.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:Building materials Composite materials Concretes Construction Construction industry Environmental impact Environmental management Global warming Hardwoods Sustainable development Wood Wood chemicals Wood products Alternative materials Building construction Comparative life cycle assessment Environmental benefits Environmental performance Global warming potential Laminated veneer lumber Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Life cycle
Subjects:Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Forestry machinery and engineering
Forestry > Exploitation and utilization
Live Archive:12 Jan 2018 05:43
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:51

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