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Article

Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of a High-Rise Mass Timber Building with an Equivalent Reinforced Concrete Alternative Using the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings

1
School of Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Madison, WI 53726, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4708; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114708
Received: 5 May 2020 / Revised: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 3 June 2020 / Published: 9 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Assessment of Buildings for Deep Impact Reductions)
Buildings consume large amounts of materials and energy, making them one of the highest environmental impactors. Quantifying the impact of building materials can be critical to developing an effective greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. Using Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings (IE4B), this paper compares cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment (LCA) results for a 12-story building constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT) and a functionally equivalent reinforced concrete (RC) building. Following EN 15978 framework, environmental impacts for stages A1–A5 (product to construction), B2, B4, and B6 (use), C1–C4 (end of life), and D (beyond the building life) were evaluated in detail along resource efficiency. For material resource efficiency, total mass of the CLT building was 33.2% less than the alternative RC building. For modules A to C and not considering operational energy use (B6), LCA results show a 20.6% reduction in embodied carbon achieved for the CLT building, compared to the RC building. For modules A to D and not considering B6, the embodied carbon assessment revealed that for the CLT building, 6.57 × 105 kg CO2 eq was emitted, whereas for the equivalent RC building, 2.16 × 106 kg CO2 eq was emitted, and emissions from CLT building was 70% lower than that from RC building. Additionally, 1.84 × 106 kg of CO2 eq was stored in the wood material used in the CLT building during its lifetime. Building material selection should be considered for the urgent need to reduce global climate change impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: whole building; cross-laminated timber (CLT); environmental impacts; embodied carbon; cradle-to-grave whole building; cross-laminated timber (CLT); environmental impacts; embodied carbon; cradle-to-grave
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, Z.; Gu, H.; Bergman, R.D.; Liang, S. Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of a High-Rise Mass Timber Building with an Equivalent Reinforced Concrete Alternative Using the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings. Sustainability 2020, 12, 4708. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114708

AMA Style

Chen Z, Gu H, Bergman RD, Liang S. Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of a High-Rise Mass Timber Building with an Equivalent Reinforced Concrete Alternative Using the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings. Sustainability. 2020; 12(11):4708. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114708

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Zhongjia, Hongmei Gu, Richard D. Bergman, and Shaobo Liang. 2020. "Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of a High-Rise Mass Timber Building with an Equivalent Reinforced Concrete Alternative Using the Athena Impact Estimator for Buildings" Sustainability 12, no. 11: 4708. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114708

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