CORRIM’s research is focused on two objectives:

  1. Develop a database and modeling system for environmental performance measurements associated with materials use
  2. Respond to specific questions and issues related to environmental performance and the cost effectiveness of alternative management and technology strategies

This database and information source will enable decision-makers to make consistent comparisons and systematically characterize the options for improving environmental performance.
By comparing across alternatives, the analyses will reveal marginal costs that contribute to marginal environmental changes and other economic impacts. This type of analysis also provides projections of future environmental performance.

Examples include:

  • A systematic evaluation and quantification of the environmental performance of wood products and wood-using systems: Alternatives for improving energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, recycling, reuse, and sustainability with tradeoffs between environmental and economic performance measures.
  • An assessment of how changes in forest culture and wood use affect forest health and the nation’s energy requirements.
  • The likely impact of mandated carbon-emission reductions, carbon taxes, or tradable permit systems on forest culture and forest product use.
  • A thorough examination of ways to conserve wood.


A Research plan was completed in 1998. Research Guidelines were developed for the Phase 1 Research plan in 2000 covering LCI information for Northwest and Southeast producing regions on structural products (lumber, plywood, OSB, LVL, glulam, Trusses). Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) information was compiled for representative steel and wood framed residential buildings in a cold climate (Minneapolis) and representative concrete and wood framed residential buildings in a warm climate (Atlanta). An interim Phase 1 report on findings was published in 2002 and professionally reviewed. Review comments were incorporated and the stages of processing extended to include building use, maintenance, demolition and disposal. A final Phase 1 research report was made available for professional review in 2004 and was published with formal reviews in 2005.

A Phase 2 Research Plan was initiated in 2004 to extend the coverage to Northeast/Northcentral supply regions including hardwoods; to the Inland West supply region to understand the interaction with fire management; to a broader range of structures and geographic locations; and to include MDF, particleboard and resins as large volume non-structural uses of wood fiber.