Largest life-cycle assessment database launched for UK construction industry

The largest online life-cycle assessment (LCA) database has been launched to help built environment professionals make better decisions on the materials they use and their impact on the environment.

Using the data, built environment professionals will be able to make informed decisions about the materials they choose and model the impact this will have on the life-cycle performance of the buildings they design.

Developed by Wood for Good, the timber industry promotion and sustainability campaign, the database contains environmental performance information on major timber products from cradle to grave.

Wood for Good says it has gathered data on every aspect of the life-cycle of timber products, from forestry, harvesting, transportation, processing and manufacturing, through to the various end of life options.

Wood for Good project director David Hopkins said: “Timber products require very low energy inputs for production – relative to many mainstream building materials – and therefore have a low-embodied energy and carbon rating.

“Our initial findings demonstrate that timber has enormous potential to help improve the environmental impact of the building industry. It absorbs carbon dioxide during the growth phase, stores this carbon throughout its life, requires very little energy to process and manufacture and can be used as a low-carbon fuel or a resource for further timber products at end of life,” he added.

BAM Construct UK head of environmental management Charlie Law commented: “Building regulations mean all new builds are required to meet high standards when it comes to environmental performance, but currently this does not include the carbon embodied in the materials.

“Being able to make meaningful comparisons between materials is hugely beneficial, helping us to create low energy and low carbon developments. In conjunction with BIM, this database will help us make those comparisons,” said Law.

Read more on the construction sectors challenges to becoming a low-carbon industry, A constructive look at tackling building emissions, here

Leigh Stringer

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie