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An example of media response to perceived environmental problems with CCA-treated wood
1990 - IRG/WP 3564
A recent study suggested that CCA-treated wood exposed to acidic precipitation could lose significant amounts of copper chromium and arsenic resulting in loss of efficacy and possible environmental contamination. The study received wide newspaper and radio coverage in Canada, thereby heightening public concern about CCA use. Subsequent studies in our laboratory confirmed that the high losses were caused by a citric acid buffer used to stabilize pH in the origional study. It is hoped that this "case study" will stimulate discussion and thoughts on how this type of situation should be addressed by scientists others involved with treated wood.
P A Cooper


IRG Cannes 1995 Conclusions
1995 - IRG/WP 95-50040 Conclusions
C R Coggins, P Creyssel, P A Cooper


Conclusions and Summary Report on an Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of ACQ-Treated Lumber Decking with Comparisons to Wood Plastic Composite Decking
2013 - IRG/WP 13-50295
The Treated Wood Council has completed a quantitative evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with the national production, use, and disposition of ACQ (alkaline copper quaternary)-treated lumber decking and wood plastic composite decking using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and following ISO 14044 standards. The results for treated wood decking are significant. • Less Energy & Resource Use: Treated wood decking requires less total energy, less fossil fuel, and less water than wood plastic composite decking. • Lower Environmental Impacts: Treated wood decking has lower environmental impacts in comparison to wood plastic composite decking in all five of the impact indicator categories assessed: anthropogenic greenhouse gas, acid rain, smog potential, ecotoxicity, and eutrophication-causing emissions. • Less Fossil Fuel Use: The fossil fuel footprint of a treated wood deck is equivalent to driving a car 38 miles/year. In comparison, the fossil fuel footprint of a wood plastic composite deck is equivalent to driving a car 540 miles/year. • Recoverable Energy: The carbon embodied in wood makes out-of-service wood products excellent candidates for energy recovery. Treated wood can be used in cogeneration facilities or synthetic fuel manufacturing facilities as a non-fossil fuel source. Impact indicator values for the cradle-to-grave life cycle of ACQ-treated lumber were normalized to one (1.0), with wood plastic decking impact indicator values being a multiple of one (if larger) or a fraction of one (if smaller).
AquAeTer, Inc.


Conclusions and Summary Report on an Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Borate-Treated Lumber Structural Framing with Comparisons to Galvanized Steel Framing
2013 - IRG/WP 13-50296
The Treated Wood Council has completed a quantitative evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with the national production, use, and disposition of borate (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate)-treated lumber structural framing and galvanized steel framing using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and following ISO 14044 standards. The results for treated wood framing are significant. • Less Energy & Resource Use: Treated wood framing requires less total energy, less fossil fuel, and less water than galvanized steel framing. • Lower Environmental Impacts: Treated wood framing has lower environmental impacts in comparison to galvanized steel framing in all five of the impact indicator categories assessed: anthropogenic greenhouse gas, acid rain, smog potential, ecotoxicity, and eutrophication-causing emissions. • Less Fossil Fuel Use: The fossil fuel footprint of 100 linear feet of treated lumber structural wall framing is equivalent to driving a car 540 miles. In comparison, the fossil fuel footprint of 100 linear feet of galvanized steel structural wall framing is equivalent to driving a car 2,000 miles. • Recoverable Energy: The carbon embodied in wood makes out-of-service wood products excellent candidates for energy recovery. Treated wood can be used in appropriately permitted cogeneration facilities or synthetic fuel manufacturing facilities as a renewable fuel source. Impact indicator values for the cradle-to-grave life cycle of borate-treated lumber were normalized to one (1.0), with galvanized steel framing impact indicator values being a multiple of one (if larger) or a fraction of one (if smaller).
AquAeTer, Inc.


Conclusions and Summary Report Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Highway Guard Rail Posts
2013 - IRG/WP 13-50297
The Treated Wood Council has completed a quantitative evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with the national production, use, and disposition of treated wood and galvanized steel highway guard rail posts using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and following ISO 14044 standards. The results for treated wood guard rail posts are significant. • Less Energy & Resource Use: Treated wood highway guard rail posts require less total energy and less fossil fuel than galvanized steel highway guard rail posts. • Lower Environmental Impacts: Treated wood highway guard rail posts have lower environmental impacts than galvanized steel highway guard rail posts in five of six impact indicator categories assessed: anthropogenic greenhouse gas, total greenhouse gas, acid rain, ecotoxicity, and smog-causing emissions. • Offsets Fossil Fuel Use: Reuse of treated wood highway guard rail posts for energy recovery in permitted facilities with appropriate emission controls will further reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, while offsetting the use of fossil fuel energy. Impact indicator values were normalized to better support comparisons between products and to understand the quantitative significance of indicators. Product normalization sets the cradle-to-grave life cycle value of treated wood highway guard rail posts to one (1.0) with galvanized steel highway guard rail post impact indicator values being a multiple of one (if larger) or a fraction of one (if smaller).
AquAeTer, Inc.


Conclusions and Summary Report Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Marine Pilings
2013 - IRG/WP 13-50298
The Treated Wood Council has completed a quantitative evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with the national production, use, and disposition of treated wood, concrete, galvanized steel, and plastic marine piles using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and following ISO 14044 standards. The results for treated wood piles are significant. • Less Energy & Resource Use: Treated wood marine piles require less total energy and less fossil fuel than concrete, galvanized steel, and plastic marine piles. Treated wood marine piles require less water than concrete and plastic marine piles. • Lower Environmental Impacts: Treated wood marine piles have lower environmental impacts than concrete, steel, and plastic marine piles in all six impact indicator categories assessed: anthropogenic greenhouse gas, total greenhouse gas, acid rain, ecotoxicity, and eutrophication-causing emissions. • Decreases Greenhouse Gas Levels: Use of treated wood marine piles lowers greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere whereas concrete, galvanized steel, and plastic marine piles increase greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. • Offsets Fossil Fuel Use: Reuse of treated wood marine piles for energy recovery in permitted facilities with appropriate emission controls will further reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, while offsetting the use of fossil fuel energy. Impact indicator values were normalized to better support comparisons between products and to understand the quantitative significance of indicators. Product normalization sets the cradle-to-grave life cycle value of maximum impact to 1.0, and all other values are a fraction of 1.0. The carbon embodied in wood products, such as marine piles, is removed from the atmosphere during growth, stored for decades while the product is in use, and can be used for beneficial energy recovery at disposition. This temporary storage of carbon in the wood product reduces atmospheric levels of CO2 because the service life of the pile exceeds the time required for tree growth.
AquAeTer, Inc.


Conclusions and Summary Report on an Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Utility Poles
2013 - IRG/WP 13-50299
The Treated Wood Council has completed a quantitative evaluation of the environmental impacts associated with the national production, use, and disposition of pentachlorophenol-treated wood, concrete, galvanized steel, and fiber-reinforced composite utility poles using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and following ISO 14044 standards. The results for treated wood poles are significant. • Less Energy & Resource Use: Treated wood utility poles require less total energy, less fossil fuel, and less water than concrete, galvanized steel, and fiber-reinforced composite utility poles. • Lower Environmental Impacts: Treated wood utility poles have lower environmental impacts than concrete, steel, and fiber-reinforced composite utility poles in five of the six impact indicator categories assessed: anthropogenic greenhouse gas, total greenhouse gas, acid rain, ecotoxicity, and eutrophication-causing emissions. • Decreases Greenhouse Gas Levels: Use of treated wood utility poles lowers greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere whereas concrete, galvanized steel, and fiber-reinforced composite utility poles increase greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere. • Offsets Fossil Fuel Use: Improved reuse of pentachlorophenol-treated utility poles for energy recovery will further reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, while offsetting the use of fossil fuel energy. Impact indicator values for the cradle-to-grave life cycle of pentachlorophenol-treated utility poles were normalized to one (1.0), with concrete, galvanized steel, and fiber-reinforced composite utility pole impact indicator values being a multiple of one (if larger) or a fraction of one (if smaller). The carbon embodied in wood products, such as utility poles, is removed from the atmosphere during growth, stored for decades while the product is in use, and can be used for beneficial energy recovery at disposition. This temporary storage of carbon in the wood product reduces atmospheric levels of CO2 because the service life of the pole exceeds the time required for tree growth.
AquAeTer, Inc.