Life Cycle Assessment Comparison of Treated Wood to Alternate Materials – Overview, Results and Lessons

IRG/WP 11-50282

T Stephen, P E Smith, C R McIntyre

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has proven useful in documenting the “green” benefits of various treated products compared to the commonly used alternates. To date, six LCA comparisons have been done or are nearing completion using ISO14040 and 14044 principles and data from US EPA databases. In almost all cases, the impact indicators for treated wood products show considerably smaller adverse effects on the environment than the comparators. In some cases, there is more than a 10-fold difference favouring the treated wood. This paper briefly reviews the methodology of preparing LCAs and provides an overview of the comparative LCA results, particularly of borate treated lumber to galvanized steel framing.

Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, environmental impact indicators, treated wood products, borate, pentachlorophenol

Conference: 11-05-08/12 Queenstown, New Zealand

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