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Assessing the Climate Change Impacts of Biogenic Carbon in Buildings: A Critical Review of Two Main Dynamic Approaches

Charles Breton (), Pierre Blanchet (), Mourad Amor (), Robert Beauregard () and Wen-Shao Chang ()
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Charles Breton: Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Industrial Chair on Eco-Responsible Wood Construction (CIRCERB), Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Pierre Blanchet: Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Industrial Chair on Eco-Responsible Wood Construction (CIRCERB), Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Robert Beauregard: Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Industrial Chair on Eco-Responsible Wood Construction (CIRCERB), Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Wen-Shao Chang: School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 6, 1-30

Abstract: Wood is increasingly perceived as a renewable, sustainable building material. The carbon it contains, biogenic carbon, comes from biological processes; it is characterized by a rapid turnover in the global carbon cycle. Increasing the use of harvested wood products (HWP) from sustainable forest management could provide highly needed mitigation efforts and carbon removals. However, the combined climate change benefits of sequestering biogenic carbon, storing it in harvested wood products and substituting more emission-intensive materials are hard to quantify. Although different methodological choices and assumptions can lead to opposite conclusions, there is no consensus on the assessment of biogenic carbon in life cycle assessment (LCA). Since LCA is increasingly relied upon for decision and policy making, incorrect biogenic carbon assessment could lead to inefficient or counterproductive strategies, as well as missed opportunities. This article presents a critical review of biogenic carbon impact assessment methods, it compares two main approaches to include time considerations in LCA, and suggests one that seems better suited to assess the impacts of biogenic carbon in buildings.

Keywords: climate change; sustainable buildings; embodied carbon; biogenic carbon; dynamic life cycle assessment; life cycle assessment; wood construction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed

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