Method for assessing the national implications of environmental impacts from timber buildings - an exemplary study for residential buildings in Germany
Since 2012, a set of new standards describing, among other aspects, the use of life cycle assessment (LCA) in the construction sector is available in Europe and provides a framework for consistently assessing the environmental performance of buildings. This article gives an overview of the actual state of art for evaluating the environmental properties of timber buildings in Europe and shows how these methods could be used as a basis for estimating the influence of a possible shift from conventional buildings to timber buildings on the national “Greenhouse Gas (GHG) budget,” whereby Germany serves as an example. Results from up-to-date LCA calculations of residential buildings for Germany are shown on a building level. Then a scaling from the building level to a national level is presented. On the national scale, the potential GHG impact of wood consumption in the building sector is modeled based on an insinuated future increase of the market share of timber buildings. The deviation of future emissions and removals due to the biogenic carbon storage effects for changing scenarios is presented. The approach shows how increasing timber construction (mass timber and timber frame) can contribute to achieving climate protection targets.
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