European Journal of Wood and Wood Products

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 251–257 | Cite as

Applying opportunity costs to correctly interpret resource efficiency in LCA studies and environmental product declarations

Original

Abstract

This paper shows that, due to the way in which Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are constructed, the global warming potential (GWP) of products made of wood or wood composites with low density (and thus low weight–light-weight design) is higher compared to wood products with a higher weight (with similar functional unit). GWP is generally regarded as a major indicator in LCA studies. The paper concludes that the underlying model used for lifecycle analysis, and therefore for EPDs, is inadequate for properly assessing the raw material efficiency of wood products and instead recommends using the opportunity costs model typically applied in economics for LCA/EPD purposes.

References

  1. Albrecht S, Rüter S, Welling J, Knauf M, Mantau U, Braune A, Baitz M, Weimar H, Sörgel C, Kreißig J, Deimling S, Hellwig S (2008) The promotion of environmental potential through the use of timber [Ökologische Potenziale durch Holznutzung gezieltfördern] Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut (vTI), Working paper 2008/5, HamburgGoogle Scholar
  2. BBSR (2011) Useful life of building elements for LCA according to theBewertungssystemNachhaltigesBauen (BNB) [Nutzungsdauern von Bauteilen für Lebenszyklusanalysen nach Bewertungssystem Nachhaltiges Bauen (BNB)] http://www.nachhaltigesbauen.de/baustoff-und-gebaeudedaten/nutzungsdauern-von-bauteilen.html. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  3. BMWi/BMU (2010) Energy concept for an environmentally friendly, reliable and affordable energy supply [Energiekonzept für eine umweltschonende, zuverlässige und bezahlbare Energieversorgung] Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie/Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  4. Brandão M, Levasseur A, Kirschbaum MUF, Weidema BP, Cowie AL, Jørgensen SV, Hauschild MZ, Pennington DW, Chomkhamsri K (2013) Key issues and options in accounting for carbon sequestration and temporary storage in life cycle assessment and carbon footprinting. Int J Life Cycle Assess 18:230–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. EN ISO 14025:2011 (2011) Environmental labels and declarations—type III environmental declarations—principles and proceduresGoogle Scholar
  6. EN ISO 14044:2006 (2006) Environmental management—life cycle assessment—requirements and guidelinesGoogle Scholar
  7. EN 15804:2012 (2012) Sustainability of construction works—environmental product declarations—core rules for the product category of construction productsGoogle Scholar
  8. Feifel S, Poganietz W-R, Schebek L (2013) The utilization of light weight boards for reducing air emissions by the German wood industry—a perspective? Environ Sci Eur 25:5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. IBU (2012) Environmental product declarations of particleboards [Umwelt-Produktdeklaration Spanplatten] Association of the German wood based panel industries (VHI), 10.05.2012. http://bau-umwelt.de/download/C2a3142c9X13735c0e1f4X1f6c/EPD_VHI_2012111_D.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  10. IBU (2013a) Environmental product declarations kronotec WP50/DP50 [Umwelt-Produktdeklaration Kronotec WP50/DP50] Kronoply GmbH/KronopolSp.z o.o., 28.07.2013. http://bau-umwelt.de/download/CY411b0ee5X14236013e47X4bcf/EPD_KRO_2012311_D.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  11. IBU (2013b) Environmental Product Declarations of raw particleboard [Umwelt-Produktdeklaration Spanplatte, roh] Association of the German wood based panel industries, 10.05.2013. http://bau-umwelt.de/download/Cf31751eX1409f99b141X52fe/Spanplatte__roh.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  12. IBU (2014a). http://bau-umwelt.de. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  13. IBU (2014b) Environmental product declarations egger eurolight, raw and surfaced light weight boards [Umwelt-Produktdeklaration Egger Eurolight, rohe und beschichtete Leichtbauplatten] 25.02.2014. http://bau-umwelt.de/download/C75e75d8X1477d472e6bXY6642/EPD_EHW_2008411_D.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  14. IBU (2014c) Environmental product declarations for wet-process wood fiberboard insulation panels 200–240 kg/m3 [Umwelt-Produktdeklaration Holzfaserdämmstoffe im Nassverfahren 200–240 kg/m3] Pavatex SA, 04.02.2014. http://bau-umwelt.de/download/C59717973X1454f8709feX480c/EPD_PAV_2013255_CBG1_DE.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  15. IBU (2014d) Environmental product declarations for wet-process wood fiberboard insulation panels 135–200 kg/m3 [Umwelt-Produktdeklaration Holzfaserdämmstoffe im Nassverfahren 135–200 kg/m3] Pavatex SA, 04.02.2014. http://bau-umwelt.de/download/CY15e66378X1440708748dX627b/Holzfaserdaemmstoffe_im_Nassverfahren_135_200_kg.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  16. Knauf M, Frühwald A (2004) Trend analysis of future wood utilization. Delphi study regarding the development of the German wood industry [Trendanalyse Zukunft Holz—Delphistudie zur Entwicklung der deutschen Holzindustrie] Final report, Knauf Consulting, BielefeldGoogle Scholar
  17. Knauf M, Frühwald A (2011a) The future of the German wood industry. “Delphi study wood 2020 revisited”—product innovations (Part III) [Die Zukunft der deutschen Holzwirtschaft. „Delphistudie Holz 2020 revisited“—Produktinnovationen (Teil 3)] Holz-Zentralblatt 137(7):192–193Google Scholar
  18. Knauf M, Frühwald A (2011b) The future of the German wood industry. „Delphi study wood 2020 revisited“—sustainability—political influence of the wood industry (Part II) [Die Zukunft der deutschen Holzwirtschaft. „Delphistudie Holz 2020 revisited“—Nachhaltigkeit—politischer Einfluss der Holzwirtschaft (Teil 2)] Holz-Zentralblatt 137(5):132Google Scholar
  19. Knauf M, Frühwald A (2013) The contribution of the North Rhine-Westphalian ForstHolz Cluster to climate protection [Beitrag des NRW Clusters ForstHolz zum Klimaschutz] Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz Nordrhein-Westfalen [Ed.], Muenster. http://www.umwelt.nrw.de/klima/pdf/130422_nrw_cluster_forstholz_klimaschutz_lang.pdf. Accessed 5 Aug 2014
  20. Krugman P, Obstfeld M, Melitz M (2011) International economics: theory and policy, 9th edn. Prentice Hall, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  21. Pawelzik P, Carus M, Hotchkiss J, Narayan R, Selke S, Wellisch M, Weiss M, Wicke B, Patel MK (2013) Critical aspects in the life cycle assessment (LCA) of bio-based materials—reviewing methodologies and deriving recommendations. Resour Conserv Recycl 73:211–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ricardo D (1817) On the principles of political economy and taxation. Dover Edition (2004), Dover Pubn Inc., MineolaGoogle Scholar
  23. Werner F, Richter K (2007) Wooden building products in comparative LCA. Int J Life Cycle Assess 12:470–479Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Knauf ConsultingBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations