Conference paper Open Access
Erwin M. Schau
Reducing the environmental impacts of products and activities becomes more and more important as the world’s population grows and limits of the earth’s carrying capacity are closing in or already exceeded. Wood and engineered wood products, coming from a natural source, are generally seen as more environmentally sound than alternative products and materials. However, to keep up with the general development of environmental efficiency (i.e., less environmental impact per produced unit), wood and engineered wood products should also improve their environmental footprint. In this contribution, the standardized method of life cycle assessment is used to investigate a range of wood and wood products with a focus on building materials, like glued-laminated timber (glulam) and oriented strand boards. Where data permits, the Environmental Footprint indicators as recommended by the European Union, are applied. The results are used to highlight fields of improvement and strategies for an even lower environmental profile for wood materials and products and could be of interest for producers as well as purchasers and users of materials and products based on wood materials. By combining all strategies, a reduction of the overall environmental footprint by up to ca 60 % was achieved.