Journal article

Replacement Scenarios for Construction Materials Based on Economy-wide Hybrid LCA

01 Jan 2017

As part of the Integrated Carbon Metrics project, which comprehensively quantifies embodied GHG emissions related to the built environment in Australia, this contribution evaluates construction material replacement scenarios at the economy-wide scale. We investigate the potential use of Engineered Wood Products (EWPs) in new building stock to assess the carbon outcomes of a potentially significant shift in the use of construction materials. This becomes increasingly relevant as Australia moves forward with augmenting the National Construction Code to allow the construction of mid-rise buildings utilizing timber. The selection of low-carbon and sustainable building materials is crucial in reducing the built environment’s carbon footprint. The main objective of the replacement scenario analysis is to assess the potential reduction in future GHG emissions by replacing the use of reinforced concrete with EWPs. The scenarios include the comparison of mid-rise buildings (10-story) with standard reference buildings (using reinforced concrete) at the national scale. The analysis considers the full cradle-to-gate carbon footprint of construction materials embedded in buildings. Since the scenarios are implemented in an input-output model of the Australian economy, changes in the use of construction materials can also be evaluated with respect to indirect effects on industries involved in the production chain of these materials as well as their respective GHG emissions.

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