Life Cycle Environmental Performance of Renewable Building Materials in the Context of Residential Construction

Summary Research Plan

SubjectPhase IPhase II
Study Period2000 - 20042005 - 2009
Forest Resources ModuleSoutheast (SE), Pacific Northwest (PNW)Northeast-Northcentral (NE-NC), Inland Northwest (INW)
Houses (LCA)Atlanta, MinneapolisCalifornia/Southwest, Seattle/Northwest
(seismic codes)
Wood productsLumber (regional), Plywood, Oriented strand board (OSB), Laminated veneer lumber (LVL), glulam, I-joist Lumber (softwood & hardwood), particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), resins, hardwood flooring
Non-wood framingConcrete, steel frameConcrete, steel frame
Housing designResidential - Single dwellingResidential single, multi-family, low rise commercial and subassemblies
Forest ManagementFertilization, thinningPartial cutting, Fire risk reduction, Northeast hardwoods

The report is organized as follows:

Major points are introduced in the Executive Summary.

Readers are directed to the Phase I Final Report, Section 1 for the background, mission, organization of effort and objectives.

Phase I

The Phase I Report provided LCI data on every stage of processing from forest management in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Southeast (SE) supply regions to building construction and demolition of structures in a warm climate (Atlanta) and a cold climate (Minneapolis).

The Phase I Report also provides details on the review process including peer reviews by noted international experts to ascertain conformity with the ISO 14040 series, the international standards for LCI/LCA.

Given the thorough mythological review completed in Phase I, and the extensive review by LCI experienced non-authors from CORRIM institutions with minimal changes in methods, the more conventional double blind peer review process for journal publication was adopted for Phase II.

A 1000 page Phase I Research Report was published in 2004 (Phase I Reports) and a special edition of Wood and Fiber Science (Volume 37, December 2005) provided a journal version of the full report along with a summary article in the Forest Products Journal (Forest Products Journal: Life-Cycle Environmental Performance of Renewable Building Materials, June 2004) .

Phase II

The Phase II Report extends the geographic coverage from the PNW and SE supply regions to Northeast-Northcental (NE-NC) both hardwoods and softwoods and Inland Northwest (INW) softwoods. It extends the product coverage from softwood lumber, plywood, oriented strandboard, glulam beams and laminated veneer lumber to include hardwood lumber and flooring, medium density fiberboard, particleboard and resins.

Many environmental improvement opportunities are identified by examining the impacts of using different components in floor and wall assemblies as well as increased use of biofuels in processing mills.

The findings for each stage of processing are reported in 11 modules (Modules A-K). Modules A-E & L
are stand alone LCI reports for forest resources (Phase II Reports).

The new findings from the Phase II report have been peer reviewed and published in Wood and Fiber Science, CORRIM Special Issue: Extending the Findings on the Environmental Performance of Wood Building Materials (Volume 42, March 2010)

Phase I and Phase II Updates for EPD Development

All Phase I and Phase II reports were updated in 2013 to facilitate development of Environmental Product Declarations. (Report Updates – 2013)