Life Cycle Assessment of a cross laminated timber building

This project investigates the environmental performance associated with building, operating (heating, cooling, hot water and lighting systems) and end-of-life of the new multi-storey, cross laminated timber (CLT) residential Forté building in Melbourne.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), applied in accordance with ISO 14040:2006, was used to determine the potential environmental impacts. The Forte building was compared with a building of similar design built using a conventional structure utilising predominantly reinforced concrete as the main structural material.

The research shows the potential environmental impacts of eutrophication, water use, non-renewable cumulative energy and greenhouse gas emissions are lower for the Forté building. If carbon sequestration in the CLT panels at the end of life is included, the Forté building has a 22% lower global warming potential; if sequestration is not included in this indicator, Forté’s impacts are 13% lower. The Forté building does use more renewable energy.

The majority of the life cycle impacts occur during the operation of the buildings; however, building materials contribute to between 5% and 21% of impacts, depending on the environmental impact category and the building considered.

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