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  • 1.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP Trä.
    Norén, Joakim
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP Trä.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut / Byggande och boende (TRb).
    Trä och hållbart byggande2014Report (Refereed)
  • 2.
    Kurkinen, Eva-Lotta
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Byggnadsfysik och innemiljö.
    Noren, Joakim
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Träbyggande och boende.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Träbyggande och boende.
    Al-Ayish, Nadia
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, CBI Betonginstitutet AB.
    During, Otto
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, CBI Betonginstitutet AB.
    Energi och klimateffektiva byggsystem: Miljövärdering av olika stomalternativ2015Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the collaborative forum Positive footprint housing® Riksbyggen is building the Viva residential quarter, which is a sustainability project at the very forefront of what is possible with contemporary construction. The idea is that this residential quarter should be fully sustainable in ecological, economic and social terms. Since 2013, a number of pilot studies have been completed under the auspices of the Viva project framework thanks to financing from the Swedish Energy Agency.

    The various building frame alternatives that have been evaluated are precast concrete, cast in-situ concrete and solid wood, all proposed by leading commercial suppliers. The report includes a specific requirement for equivalent functions during the use phase of the building, B. An interpretation has been provided that investigates the building engineering aspects in detail, as well as an account of the results based on the social community requirements specified in Viva, durability, fire, noise and energy consumption in the Swedish National Board of Building, Planning and Housing building regulations (BBR), plus Riksbyggen’s own requirements, Sweden Green Building Council’s Environmental Building Gold (Miljöbyggnad Guld) and 100-year life cycle. Given that the alternatives have different long-term characteristics (and also that our knowledge of these characteristics itself varies), these functional requirements have been addressed by setting up different scenarios in accordance with the EPD standard EN 15978.

    Because Riksbyggen has specified a requirement for a 100-year life cycle, we have also opted for an analysis period of 100 years.

    The results show no significant differences between concrete and timber structures for the same functions during the life cycle, either for climate or for primary energy. The minor differences reported are accordingly less than the degree of uncertainty involved in the study.

    The available documentation on the composition of the relevant intumescent paint coating on solid wood frames differs from source to source, so it was not possible to fully allow for the significance of this.

    The LCA has not included functional changes in the building linked to load-bearing characteristics, noise, moisture, health or other problems that may result in increased maintenance and replacement. The concrete houses have been dimensioned for 100 years, for instance, in accordance with tried and tested standards and experience. The solid wood house is not dimensioned in the same way, and this has led to us having to assume various scenarios.

    The results also show the following:

     

    • The uncertainties involved in comparing different structures and alternative solutions are very significant. The results are affected by factors such as life cycle, the functional requirements taken into consideration, transportation, design and structural details, etc.

     

    • Variations in the built items and a considerable degree of uncertainty in the assumptions make it difficult to obtain significant results on comparisons. Only actual construction projects with known specific data, declared from a life cycle perspective that takes into account actual building developer

    requirements and involving different scenarios (best, documented and worst-case) for the user stage can currently be compared.

     

    • In the other hand, comparisons restricted to different concrete structures only, or to different timber structures only, ought to involve a lower degree of uncertainty, These would then provide results that are significant as well as improvement requirements that are relevant.

     

    • There is potential for improving concrete by imposing requirements on the material

     

    • There is potential for improving solid wood frames by developing and guaranteeing well-documented long-term characteristics for all functional requirements.

     

    The LCAs were performed as an iterative process where all parties were given the opportunity to submit their viewpoints and suggestions for changes during the course of the work. This helped ensure that all alternatives have been properly thought through.

    Because, during the project, Riksbyggen opted to procure a concrete frame, in the final stage the researchers involved focused on ensuring the procurement process would result in the concrete frame as built meeting the requirements set out above. As things currently stand, the material requirements for the concrete are limited by the production options open to the suppliers, and this is therefore being investigated in the manufacture of precast concrete frames for the Viva cooperative housing association.

     

  • 3.
    Kurkinen, Eva-Lotta
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Byggnadsfysik och innemiljö.
    Norén, Joakim
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Träbyggande och boende.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Träbyggande och boende.
    Al-Ayish, Nadia
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, CBI Betonginstitutet AB.
    During, Otto
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, CBI Betonginstitutet AB.
    Energy and climate-efficient construction systems: Environmental assessment of various frame options for buildings in Brf. Viva2018Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In the collaborative forum Positive footprint housing® Riksbyggen is building the Viva residential quarter, which is a sustainability project at the very forefront of what is possible with contemporary construction. The idea is that this residential quarter should be fully sustainable in ecological, economic and social terms. Since 2013, a number of pilot studies have been completed under the auspices of the Viva project framework thanks to financing from the Swedish Energy Agency. The various building frame alternatives that have been evaluated are precast concrete, cast in-situ concrete and solid wood, all proposed by leading commercial suppliers. The report includes a specific requirement for equivalent functions during the use phase of the building, B. An interpretation has been provided that investigates the building engineering aspects in detail, as well as an account of the results based on the social community requirements specified in Viva, durability, fire, noise and energy consumption in the Swedish National Board of Building, Planning and Housing building regulations (BBR), plus Riksbyggen’s own requirements, Sweden Green Building Council’s Environmental Building Gold (Miljöbyggnad Guld) and 100-year life cycle. Given that the alternatives have different long-term characteristics (and also that our knowledge of these characteristics itself varies), these functional requirements have been addressed by setting up different scenarios in accordance with the EPD standard EN 15978. Because Riksbyggen has specified a requirement for a 100-year life cycle, we have also opted for an analysis period of 100 years. The results show no significant differences between concrete and timber structures for the same functions during the life cycle, either for climate or for primary energy. The minor differences reported are accordingly less than the degree of uncertainty involved in the study. The available documentation on the composition of the relevant intumescent paint coating on solid wood frames differs from source to source, so it was not possible to fully allow for the significance of this. The LCA has not included functional changes in the building linked to load-bearing characteristics, noise, moisture, health or other problems that may result in increased maintenance and replacement. The concrete houses have been dimensioned for 100 years, for instance, in accordance with tried and tested standards and experience. The solid wood house is not dimensioned in the same way, and this has led to us having to assume various scenarios.

    The results also show the following:

    • The uncertainties involved in comparing different structures and alternative solutions are very significant. The results are affected by factors such as life cycle, the functional requirements taken into consideration, transportation, design and structural details, etc.

    • Variations in the built items and a considerable degree of uncertainty in the assumptions make it difficult to obtain significant results on comparisons. Only actual construction projects with known specific data, declared from a life cycle perspective that takes into account actual building developer requirements and involving different scenarios (best, documented and worst-case) for the user stage can currently be compared.

    • In the other hand, comparisons restricted to different concrete structures only, or to different timber structures only, ought to involve a lower degree of uncertainty. These would then provide results that are significant as well as improvement requirements that are relevant.

    • There is potential for improving concrete by imposing requirements on the material

    • There is potential for improving solid wood frames by developing and guaranteeing well-documented long-term characteristics for all functional requirements.

    The LCAs were performed as an iterative process where all parties were given the opportunity to submit their viewpoints and suggestions for changes during the course of the work. This helped ensure that all alternatives have been properly thought through.

    Because, during the project, Riksbyggen opted to procure a concrete frame, in the final stage the researchers involved focused on ensuring the procurement process would result in the concrete frame as built meeting the requirements set out above. As things currently stand, the material requirements for the concrete are limited by the production options open to the suppliers, and this is therefore being investigated in the manufacture of precast concrete frames for the Viva cooperative housing association.

  • 4.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad. Architecture and the Built Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
    Exploring climate impacts of timber buildings: the effects from including non-traditional aspects in life cycle climate impact assessment2015Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut / Byggande och boende (TRb).
    Klimatpåverkan från träprodukter: att krossa en myt2015In: Husbyggaren, no 4, p. 25-27Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 6.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Energy and Circular Economy.
    The role of biobased building materials in the climate impacts of construction: Effects of increased use of biobased materials in the Swedish building sector2017Other (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A significant share of the global climate change impacts can be attributed to the construction sector. One mitigation strategy is increasing the use of biobased materials. Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been used to demonstrate the benefits of this, but forest complexities create uncertainty due to omission of key aspects. This aim of this thesis is to enhance understanding of the effects of increasing use of biobased materials in climate change mitigation of construction works with a life cycle perspective. Non-traditional LCA methodology aspects were identified and the climate impact effects of increasing the use of biobased materials while accounting for these was studied. The method applied was dynamic LCA combined with forest carbon data under multi-approach scenarios. Diverse case studies (a building, a small road bridge and the Swedish building stock) were used. Most scenarios result in impact reductions from increasing the use of biobased materials in construction. The inclusion of non-traditional aspects affected the results, but not this outcome. Results show that the climate mitigation potential is maximized by simultaneously implementing other strategies (such as increased use of low-impact concrete). Biobased building materials should not be generalised as climate neutral because it depends on case-sensitive factors. Some of these factors depend on the modelling of the forest system (timing of tree growth, spatial level approach, forest land use baseline) or LCA modelling parameters (choice of the time horizon, end-of-life assumptions, service life). To decrease uncertainty, it is recommended to use at least one metric that allows assessment of emissions based on their timing and to use long-term time horizons. Practitioners should clearly state if and how non-traditional aspects are handled, and study several methodological settings. Technological changes should be accounted for when studying long-term climate impacts of building stocks.

  • 7.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Energy and Circular Economy. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Erlandsson, Martin
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
    Berlin, Johanna
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Energy and Circular Economy.
    Wålinder, Magnus
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Falk, Andreas
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Future scenarios for climate mitigation of new construction in Sweden: Effects of different technological pathways2018In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 187, p. 1025-1035Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A variety of climate mitigation strategies is available to mitigate climate impacts of buildings. Several studies evaluating the effectiveness of these strategies have been performed at the building stock level, but do not consider the technological change in building material manufacturing. The objective of this study is to evaluate the climate mitigation effects of increasing the use of biobased materials in the construction of new residential dwellings in Sweden under future scenarios related to technological change. A model to estimate the climate impact from Swedish new dwellings has been proposed combining official statistics and life cycle assessment data of seven different dwelling typologies. Eight future scenarios for increased use of harvested wood products are explored under different pathways for changes in the market share of typologies and in energy generation. The results show that an increased use of harvested wood products results in lower climate impacts in all scenarios evaluated, but reductions decrease if the use of low-impact concrete expands more rapidly or under optimistic energy scenarios. Results are highly sensitive to the choice of climate impact metric. The Swedish construction sector can only reach maximum climate change mitigation scenarios if the low-impact building typologies are implemented together and rapidly.

  • 8.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Erlandsson, Martin
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden; IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
    Falk, Andreas
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Exploring the climate impact effects of increased use of bio-based materials in buildings2016In: Construction and Building Materials, ISSN 0950-0618, E-ISSN 1879-0526, Vol. 125, p. 219-226Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Whenever Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used to assess the climate impact of buildings, those with high content of biobased materials result with the lowest impact. Traditional approaches to LCA fail to capture aspects such as biogenic carbon exchanges, their timing and the effects from carbon storage. This paper explores a prospective increase of biobased materials in Swedish buildings, using traditional and dynamic LCA to assess the climate impact effects of this increase. Three alternative designs are analysed; one without biobased material content, a CLT building and an alternative timber design with “increased bio”. Different scenario setups explore the sensitivity to key assumptions such as the building's service life, end-of-life scenario, setting of forest sequestration before (growth) or after (regrowth) harvesting and time horizon of the dynamic LCA. Results show that increasing the biobased material content in a building reduces its climate impact when biogenic sequestration and emissions are accounted for using traditional or dynamic LCA in all the scenarios explored. The extent of these reductions is significantly sensitive to the end-of-life scenario assumed, the timing of the forest growth or regrowth and the time horizon of the integrated global warming impact in a dynamic LCA. A time horizon longer than one hundred years is necessary if biogenic flows from forest carbon sequestration and the building's life cycle are accounted for. Further climate impact reductions can be obtained by keeping the biogenic carbon dioxide stored after end-of-life or by extending the building's service life, but the time horizon and impact allocation among different life cycles must be properly addressed.

  • 9.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Building Technology. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Erlandsson, Martin
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden; IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
    Pousette, Anna
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Building Technology.
    Climate impacts from road bridges: effects of introducing concrete carbonation and biogenic carbon storage in wood2018In: Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, Vol. 14, no 1, p. 56-67Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The construction sector faces the challenge of mitigating climate change with urgency. Life cycle assessment (LCA), a widely used tool to assess the climate impacts of buildings, is seldom used for bridges. Material-specific phenomena such as concrete carbonation and biogenic carbon storage are usually unaccounted for when assessing the climate impacts from infrastructure. The purpose of this article is to explore the effects these phenomena could have on climate impact assessment of road bridges and comparisons between bridge designs. For this, a case study is used of two functionally equivalent design alternatives for a small road bridge in Sweden. Dynamic LCA is used to calculate the effects of biogenic carbon storage, while the Lagerblad method and literature values are used to estimate concrete carbonation. The results show that the climate impact of the bridge is influenced by both phenomena, and that the gap between the impacts from both designs increases if the phenomena are accounted for. The outcome is influenced by the time occurrence assumed for the forest carbon uptake and the end-of-life scenario for the concrete. An equilibrium or 50/50 approach for accounting for the forest carbon uptake is proposed as a middle value compromise to handle this issue. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

  • 10.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut / Byggande och boende (TRb).
    Norén, Joakim
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP Trä.
    Eriksson, Per-Erik
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP Trä.
    Life Cycle Assessment of Different Building Systems: The Wälludden Case Study2013Report (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Pantze, Anna
    Tyréns AB, Sweden.
    Erlandsson, Martin
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
    Pousette, Anna
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Hållbar Samhällsbyggnad, Träbyggande och boende.
    Life cycle assessment of road bridges: Implications from using biobased building2016In: SBE16 – International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment, 2016Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Energy and Circular Economy.
    Røyne, Frida
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Energy and Circular Economy.
    Sandin, Gustav
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy, Biorefinery and Energy.
    Svanström, Magdalena
    Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.
    Erlandsson, Martin
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
    The influence of system boundaries and baseline in climate impact assessment of forest products2019In: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, ISSN 0948-3349, E-ISSN 1614-7502, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 160-176Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This article aims to explore how different assumptions about system boundaries and setting of baselines for forest growth affect the outcome of climate impact assessments of forest products using life cycle assessment (LCA), regarding the potential for climate impact mitigation from replacing non-forest benchmarks. This article attempts to explore how several assumptions interact and influence results for different products with different service life lengths. Methods: Four products made from forest biomass were analysed and compared to non-forest benchmarks using dynamic LCA with time horizons between 0 and 300 years. The studied products have different service lives: butanol automotive fuel (0 years), viscose textile fibres (2 years), a cross-laminated timber building structure (50 years) and methanol used to produce short-lived (0 years) and long-lived (20 years) products. Five calculation setups were tested featuring different assumptions about how to account for the carbon uptake during forest growth or regrowth. These assumptions relate to the timing of the uptake (before or after harvest), the spatial system boundaries (national, landscape or single stand) and the land-use baseline (zero baseline or natural regeneration). Results and discussion: The implications of using different assumptions depend on the type of product. The choice of time horizon for dynamic LCA and the timing of forest carbon uptake are important for all products, especially long-lived ones where end-of-life biogenic emissions take place in the relatively distant future. The choice of time horizon is less influential when using landscape- or national-level system boundaries than when using stand-level system boundaries and has greater influence on the results for long-lived products. Short-lived products perform worse than their benchmarks with short time horizons whatever spatial system boundaries are chosen, while long-lived products outperform their benchmarks with all methods tested. The approach and data used to model the forest carbon uptake can significantly influence the outcome of the assessment for all products. Conclusions: The choices of spatial system boundaries, temporal system boundaries and land-use baseline have a large influence on the results, and this influence decreases for longer time horizons. Short-lived products are more sensitive to the choice of time horizon than long-lived products. Recommendations are given for LCA practitioners: to be aware of the influence of method choice when carrying out studies, to use case-specific data (for the forest growth) and to communicate clearly how results can be used.

  • 13.
    Pousette, Anna
    et al.
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP Trä.
    Norén, Joakim
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP Trä.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Sveriges tekniska forskningsinstitut, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut / Byggande och boende (TRb).
    Wiklund, Ulf
    Pantze, Anna
    LCA för vägbro: Analys av en byggd betongöverbyggnad och en alternativ träöverbyggnad2014Report (Refereed)
  • 14.
    Røyne, Frida
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment. Umeå University, Sweden.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.
    Sandin, Gustav
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy, Biorefinery and Energy.
    Berlin, Johanna
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment.
    Svanström, Magdalena
    Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.
    Climate impact assessment in life cycle assessments of forest products: Implications of method choice for results and decision-making2016In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 116, p. 90-99Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As life cycle assessments are often conducted to provide decision support, it is important that impact assessment methodology is consistent with the intended decision context. The currently most used climate impact assessment metric, the global warming potential, and how it is applied in life cycle assessments, has for example been criticised for insufficiently accounting for carbon sequestration, carbon stored in long-lived products and timing of emission. The aim of this study is to evaluate how practitioners assess the climate impact of forest products and the implications of method choice for results and decision-making. To identify current common practices, we reviewed climate impact assessment practices in 101 life cycle assessments of forest products. We then applied identified common practices in case studies comparing the climate impact of a forest-based and a non-forest-based fuel and building, respectively, and compared the outcomes with outcomes of applying alternative, non-established practices. Results indicate that current common practices exclude most of the dynamic features of carbon uptake and storage as well as the climate impact from indirect land use change, aerosols and changed albedo. The case studies demonstrate that the inclusion of such aspects could influence results considerably, both positively and negatively. Ignoring aspects could thus have important implications for the decision support. The product life cycle stages with greatest climate impact reduction potential might not be identified, product comparisons might favour the less preferable product and policy instruments might support the development and use of inefficient climate impact reduction strategies.

  • 15.
    Sandin, Gustav
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy, Biorefinery and Energy.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut.
    Röyne, Frida
    RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut.
    Svanström, Magdalena
    Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.
    Staffas, Louise
    IVL, Sweden.
    The method’s influence on climate impact assessment of biofuels and other uses of forest biomass: Report from an f3 project2015Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Towards a bio-economy: the role of the forest

    Biomass has an increasingly important role in replacing fossil and mineral resources, and it is central in environmental impact-reduction strategies in companies and governments, locally, nationally and internationally. The European Union (EU) has recently taken action to strengthen the bio-economy, defined as “…the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into a range of food, health, fibre and industrial products and energy”.

    Two thirds of the land area in Sweden is covered by forests, and forestry has been an important industry for centuries. Increased and/or more efficient use of forest biomass thus has a great potential for replacing the use of fossil and mineral resources in Sweden.

    There are two main reasons for why forest- and other bio-based products are seen as environmentally beneficial. Biomass is (most often) a renewable resource, in contrast to finite fossil and mineral resources, and there is often a balance between CO2 captured when the biomass grows, and CO2 released when the bio-based product is incinerated.

    The challenge: calculate carbon footprints

    Moving towards a bio-economy means replacing non-renewable fuels and materials with bio-based fuels and materials. This is a transition on many levels: technology, business models, infrastructure, political priorities, etc. To guide such a grand transition, there is a need to understand the environmental implications of new bio-based products. This includes assessing their climate impact, so-called carbon footprinting.

    Carbon footprinting of forest products is not as simple as saying that forest products are carbon and climate neutral by definition. Fossil energy used for producing and transporting the products has a carbon footprint. Also, the carbon balance can differ between forest products, which can influence their carbon footprint. For example, carbon stored in products, while CO2 is captured in the re-growing forest, can mitigate climate change. The modelling of the carbon balance is influenced by the study’s geographical system boundaries – national, regional, landscape and single-stand perspectives often yield different results. Forestry can also lead to positive or negative changes in the levels of carbon stored in the soil, the levels of aerosols emitted by the trees (influencing cloud formation), and the albedo (surface reflectivity) of the forest land. An indirect effect of forestry can be increased competition for land, with expanding or intensified land use elsewhere, with positive or negative climate effects. All these factors are potentially important when calculating carbon footprints.

    There is limited knowledge about how and to which extent the aforementioned factors influence the carbon footprint of forest products. Also, there is a lack of methods for assessing some of these factors. In light of this, can the carbon footprints of today be trusted? And can we ensure that they provide relevant and robust decision support?

    Our approach: testing three different carbon footprint methods in five case studies

    In this study, we have:

    1. Identified different carbon footprint methods.
    2. Used the identified methods to calculate the carbon footprint of different forest products and non-forest benchmarks (using life cycle assessment, LCA).
    3. Compared the results to find out how and why they differ.

    We identified three main categories of carbon footprint methods: (i) the common practice in LCA, (ii) recommendations in standards and directives (we tested the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels and bioliquids and the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) guide), and (iii) more advanced methods proposed in the scientific literature (we tested dynamic LCA). For dynamic LCA, we tested different time horizons (20 and 100 years) and different geographical system boundaries, based on (a) the national level, assuming a net annual growth of biomass (which is the case in Sweden); (b) the landscape level, assuming a balance between the annual harvesting and growth (the level at which forests are often managed); and (c) the stand level, assuming regrowth during a time period of 80 years (a stand is the part of a landscape that is harvested in one year, a level often used by researchers developing new methods for modelling the dynamics of forest carbon flows).

    These methods were applied to five forest products: two automotive fuels (a lignin-based fuel produced from black liquor and butanol), a textile fibre (viscose), a timber structure building, and a chemical (methanol, used for different end products).

    Our findings

    We found that different carbon footprint methods can give different results. The common practice is close to the recommendation in the EU sustainability criteria and the PEF guide. Results from dynamic LCA differ considerably, as it accounts for the timing of (fossil and biogenic) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and CO2 capture, which is ignored by the other methods. The results of dynamic LCA depend primarily on the geographical system boundaries, but also on the time horizon.

    When applying dynamic LCA with a stand perspective, we assumed that the CO2 uptake occurs after harvest. Alternatively, one could assume that the CO2 uptake occurs before harvest, which would give different (lower) results.

    When comparing the carbon footprints of the forest products with products they could be expected to replace, we see that the results for the forest products could range from being definitely favourable to worse.

    More results can be found in the full report. Results were produced to answer the research questions of this study, and should not be used out of context.

    Conclusions and recommendations

    Because there is (still) limited knowledge about how forest products influence the climate, and as carbon footprints will always depend on value-based assumptions (e.g. regarding geographical system boundaries), it is not possible to recommend one specific method which is suitable regardless of context. As different carbon footprint methods can give very different results, our key message is that we need to increase consciousness on these matters. It is important to be aware of the assumptions made in the study, the effects of those assumptions on results, and how results can and cannot be used for decision support in a certain context. More specific recommendations for decision makers are listed below. Further details and results can be found in the main report, along with recommendations for LCA practitioners and researchers.

    • Decision makers must be aware that the main methodological choices influencing carbon footprints of Swedish forest products are the choice of geographical system boundaries (e.g. national-, landscape- or stand-level system boundaries) and whether the timing of CO2 capture and GHG emissions is accounted for. This is because Swedish forests are, in general, slow growing.
    • If the aim of the decision is to obtain short-term climate impact reduction – for example, the urgent reduction that is possibly needed for preventing the world average temperature to rise with more than 2°C – the timing of CO2 capture and GHG emissions should be taken into account. Decision makers must be aware that a particular method for capturing timing (such as dynamic LCA) can be combined with different system boundaries, which can yield different results.
    • When conclusions from existing LCA studies are synthesized for decision support, the decision maker must be aware that most existing studies do not account for the timing of CO2 capture and GHG emissions. This is particularly important when the decision concerns the prioritization of forest products with different service lives (e.g., fuels versus buildings).
    • When timing is considered, decision makers must be aware that there are different views on when the CO2 capture occurs, which will influence the carbon footprint. One could either consider the CO2 captured before the harvest (i.e., the capture of the carbon that goes into the product system), or the CO2 captured after the harvest (i.e., the consequence of the harvest operation). In this study, we tested the second alternative when we applied dynamic LCA with a stand perspective – this does not mean we advocate the use of the second alternative over the first alternative.
    • Decision makers must be aware that the location and management practices of the forestry influence the climate impact of a forest product. For example, growth rates, changes in soil carbon storages and fertilisers (a source of GHGs) differ between locations.
    • Based on our results, we cannot say that the carbon footprints of some product categories are more robust than for others, i.e. less influenced by choice of methodology. However, the more forest biomass use in the product system, the higher the influence of the choice of method.
    • As many interactions between the forest and the climate are still not fully understood, it is important to be open to new knowledge gained in methodology development work.
    • Regarding how to use Swedish forests for the most efficient climate impact reduction, it is impossible to draw a general conclusion on the basis of our results. Factors that influence the “optimal” use are:
      • Which fraction of forest biomass that is used. Various products use different fractions (as was the case in our case studies) and do not necessarily compete for the same biomass. However, a production system may be more or less optimised for a specific output. So there may be situations of competition also when feedstocks are not directly interchangeable.
      • Which non-forest product that is assumed to be replaced by the forest product (if any). The carbon footprint of the non-forest product matters, but also how large the substitution effect is (i.e., does the forest product actually replace the non-forest alternative, or merely add products to the market, and what are the rebound effects from increased production?).
      • If all other factors are identical: the longer the service life of the forest product the better, due to the climate benefit of storing carbon and thereby delaying CO2 emissions. This effect is particularly strong if the aim is to obtain short-term climate impact reduction. Moreover, the effect supports so-called cascade use of forest biomass, e.g. first using wood in a building structure, then reusing the wood in a commodity, and at end-of-life, as late as possible, recovering the energy content of the wood for heat or fuel production.
      • Traditional LCA practice and methods required by the EU sustainability criteria and PEF have limitations in the support they can provide for the transition to a bio-economy, as they cannot capture the variations of different forest products in terms of rotation periods and service lives. Thus, decision makers need to consider studies using more advanced methods to be able to distinguish better or worse uses of forest biomass. We have tested one such advanced method (dynamic LCA), that proved applicable in combination with several different geographical perspectives, but also other methods exist (e.g. GWPbio).
      • Climate change is not the only environmental impact category which is relevant in decision making concerned with how to use forests. Other environmental issues, such as loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, are also important. There are also non-environmental sustainability issues of potential importance, e.g. related to indigenous rights and job creation.
  • 16.
    Ylmen, Peter
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Building Technology.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Sweden.
    Mjörnell, Kristina
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Building Technology.
    Life Cycle Assessment of an Office Building Based on Site-Specific Data2019In: Energies, ISSN 1996-1073, E-ISSN 1996-1073, Vol. 12, no 13, article id 2588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an established method to assess the various environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a building. The goal of this project was to calculate the environmental releases for a whole office building and investigate the contribution in terms of environmental impact for different parts of the building, as well as the impact from different stages of the life cycle. The construction process was followed up during production and the contractors provided real-time data on the input required in terms of building products, transport, machinery, energy use, etc. The results are presented for five environmental impact categories and, as expected, materials that constitute the main mass of the building and the energy used during operation contribute the largest share of environmental impact. It is usually difficult to evaluate the environmental impact of the materials in technical installations due to the lack of data. However, in this study, the data were provided by the contractors directly involved in the construction and can, therefore, be considered highly reliable. The results show that materials for installations have a significant environmental impact for four of the environmental impact categories studied, which is a noteworthy finding.

  • 17.
    Ylmen, Peter
    et al.
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Building Technology.
    Peñaloza, Diego
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Energy and Circular Economy.
    Schade, Jutta
    RISE - Research Institutes of Sweden, Built Environment, Building Technology.
    Livscykelstudie av kontor med kombinerad betong- och träkonstruktion2018Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Vasakronan has produced an office building were seven of the floors are mainly made in concrete and two floors are mainly made of wooden materials.  As Vasakronan had little previous experience with wooden construction works they were interested in comparing the different production methods from an environmental and economic perspective.

    The main purpose of the project was to analyze the long-term environmental impact of different building methods with alternative design and production as well as material choice and on-site systems. A secondary purpose was to assess the economic consequences of different construction solutions. The goals were to:

    • provide advice and suggestions on how different material choice, construction solutions and assembly methods can be used from their environmental and economic properties.
    • find environmental hot-spots in the building process.
    • contribute with knowledge and experience to develop methods regarding life cycle assessment (LCA) and calculation of life cycle cost (LCC) for building projects. 
    • compare differences between constructions in concrete and wood.

    An LCA was carried out on the whole building and LCA and LCC calculation were conducted to compare the environmental impact and cost of concrete and wooden constructions.  The results include global warming potential, eutrophication potential, acidification potential, stratospheric ozone depletion potential, photooxidants creation potential and present costs. The data were collected by the contractors during production to ensure that the results are based on the finished building and not assumptions made during the design stage.

    The report shows the difficulties that arise during life cycle studies of buildings but also provides guidance how to solve them in this particular case, which can be used as a base for continued development of methods.

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