American Hardwood's Life Cycle Assessment Tool

This tool shows the environmental impact of delivering one cubic meter of kiln dried sawn lumber of the selected American hardwood species and thickness to the overseas customer using the specified transport route. The data is derived from an ISO conformant LCA model prepared using GABI software by Thinkstep. The eight environmental impact categories shown are a selection of those used in EN15804-conformant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) of construction products and are also being pilot tested for the EU’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) initiative.

GROWN IN SECONDS


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it takes seconds to grow 1m³ of
The replacement rate is calculated from total U.S. annual increment of the specified hardwood species derived from the U.S. Forest Service Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and assumes that 2m³ of logs is harvested to produce 1m³ of lumber (i.e. 50% conversion efficiency). The rapid rate of replacement is due to the very large volume of hardwood trees in U.S. forest.


IMPACT CATEGORIES


GLOBAL WARMING POTENTIAL

Often termed “carbon footprint”. Expressed in Kg of carbon dioxide equivalent. The sum of the warming potential of all gases emitted (including CO2, methane and water vapour) which influence the energy balance of the atmosphere leading to increased average temperatures.

PRIMARY ENERGY DEMAND FROM RESOURCES

Use of fossil fuels in mega-joules. The impact category has limited application on its own because it does not differentiate between energy sources (e.g. oil or coal). Nor does it represent “embodied energy”. However, it is an important driver of other environmental impacts including global warming, acidification, eutrophication and resource depletion.

PRIMARY ENERGY DEMAND FROM RENEWABLES

Use of energy derived from renewable raw materials in mega-joules (MJ).

ACIDIFICATION POTENTIAL

Potential for acidification of soil and damage to plant health resulting from emissions to air, water and land of acidifying compounds such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Expressed in Moles of H+ equivalent (Moles of H + eq).

FRESHWATER EUTROPHICATION POTENTIAL

Nutrient enrichment of waters by release of phosphorous or nitrogen compounds (such as fertilisers) and organic matter (e.g. in effluents). This causes excess growth of plant matter and depletion of oxygen levels in the water. Expressed in Kg of phosphate equivalent (Kg P eq).

MARINE EUTROPHICATION POTENTIAL

Nutrient enrichment of waters by release of phosphorous or nitrogen compounds (such as fertilisers) and organic matter (e.g. in effluents). This causes excess growth of plant matter and depletion of oxygen levels in the water. Expressed in Kg of phosphate equivalent (Kg P eq).

PHOTOCHEMICAL OZONE CREATION POTENTIAL

Often referred to as “photochemical smog”. Increased levels of ozone at ground level arise through the reaction of volatile organic compounds, for example ethene, with oxygen compounds or oxides of nitrogen in air and under the influence of sunlight. The problem afflicts modern cities and impacts human health and reduces vegetative production. Expressed in Kg of ethene equivalent (Kg NMVOC).

RESOURCE DEPLETION

Measures depletion of non-renewable mineral resources. Compiled from the ratios of annual production to size of remaining reserves for all minerals consumed. Expressed in relation to the ratio for the mineral Antimony (SB).