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A case study to investigate the life cycle carbon emissions and carbon storage capacity of a cross laminated timber, multi-storey residential building

Darby, H., Elmualim, A. A. and Kelly, F. (2013) A case study to investigate the life cycle carbon emissions and carbon storage capacity of a cross laminated timber, multi-storey residential building. In: Sustainable Building Conference, SB13, 23-25 April 2013, Munich, Germany. ..

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Abstract/Summary

Forests are a store of carbon and an eco-system that continually removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If they are sustainably managed, the carbon store can be maintained at a constant level, while the trees removed and converted to timber products can form an additional long term carbon store. The total carbon store in the forest and associated ‘wood chain’ therefore increases over time, given appropriate management. This increasing carbon store can be further enhanced with afforestation. The UK’s forest area has increased continually since the early 1900s, although the rate of increase has declined since its peak in the late 1980s, and it is a similar picture in the rest of Europe. The increased sustainable use of timber in construction is a key market incentive for afforestation, which can make a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions. The case study presented in this paper demonstrates the carbon benefits of a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) solution for a multi-storey residential building in comparison with a more conventional reinforced concrete solution. The embodied carbon of the building up to completion of construction is considered, together with the stored carbon during the life of the building and the impact of different end of life scenarios. The results of the study show that the total stored carbon in the CLT structural frame is 1215tCO2 (30tCO2 per housing unit). The choice of treatment at end of life has a significant effect on the whole life embodied carbon of the CLT frame, which ranges from -1017 tCO2e for re-use to +153tCO2e for incinerate without energy recovery. All end of life scenarios considered result in lower total CO2e emissions for the CLT frame building compared with the reinforced concrete frame solution.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering > Innovative and Sustainable Technologies
ID Code:33178

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