European Journal of Wood and Wood Products

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 299–312 | Cite as

Life cycle assessment of wood construction according to the normative standards

  • Atsushi TakanoEmail author
  • Annette Hafner
  • Lauri Linkosalmi
  • Stephan Ott
  • Mark Hughes
  • Stefan Winter


This study demonstrates life cycle assessment (LCA) on a reference wooden building according to the latest normative standards: EN 15978, EN 15804 and EN 16485. Global warming potential and primary energy balance over the reference building were assessed in a case study. Through the assessment, the application of the standards was studied. In addition, possible points for development in the standards, especially concerning wood products and wood construction, were discussed from a practical perspective. The lack of proper data is a critical issue in conducting the assessment in compliance with the standards. Since LCA is a data-intensive method, the preparation of data for the building assessment according to the standard is certainly required. This paper also raises questions about the life cycle modules defined in the standards and the importance of the communication system used for the assessment results. It would be of importance to develop the communication system in such a way as to stimulate environmental consciousness in society. In order to develop a relevant communication system, further discussion and case studies would be important and feedback from such practices should be incorporated into the development of the guideline for the assessment.


Life Cycle Assessment Life Cycle Inventory Life Cycle Stage Laminate Veneer Lumber Biogenic Carbon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors gratefully acknowledge funding support from WoodWisdom-Net, Finnish Wood Research Oy, The KONE foundation and The Finnish Cultural Foundation, as well the Huber & Sohn GmbH for all the support for the research data.


  1. Allacker K, Pant R, Schau EM (2013) The need for a comprehensive and consistent approach in sustainability assessment of buildings—the EC product environmental footprint. In: Proceedings of the Sustainable Buildings—Construction products & Technologies (SB13 Graz), pp 982–990Google Scholar
  2. Björklund T, Tillman AM (1997) LCA of building frame structures: environmental impact over the life cycle of wooden and concrete frames. Technical Environmental Planning Report. Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, p 2Google Scholar
  3. BMUB (2002) Federal Ministry for the Environmental, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. Ordinance on the Management of Waste Wood. Accessed 25 June 2013
  4. DIN V 4108-6 (2003) Wärmeschutz und Energie-Einsparung in Gebäuden—Teil 6: Berechnung des Jahresheizwärme- und des Jahresheizenergiebedarfs (In German) (Thermal protection and energy economy in buildings—Part 6: Calculation of annual heat and energy use), Beuth, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  5. Dodoo A, Gustavsson L, Sathre R (2009) Carbon implications of end-of-life management of building materials. Resour Conserv Recycl 53(5):276–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. EC-JRC-IES (2010) International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD). Handbook—general guide for life cycle assessment—detailed guidance. European Commission—Joint Research Centre—Institute for Environment and Sustainability First Edition. Publications Office of the European Union, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  7. Ecoinvent Centre (2013) Ecoinvent database version 3.01 Accessed 6 May 2014
  8. EN 15804 (2012+A1:2013) Sustainability of construction works—environmental product declarations—core rules for the product category of construction products. European Committee for StandardizationGoogle Scholar
  9. EN 15978 (2011) Sustainability of construction works—assessment of environmental performance of buildings—calculation method. European Committee for StandardizationGoogle Scholar
  10. EN 16485 (2014) Round and sawn timber—environmental product declarations—product category rules for wood and wood-based products for use in construction. European Committee for StandardizationGoogle Scholar
  11. Erlandsson M, Borg M (2003) Generic LCA-methodology applicable for buildings, constructions and operation services—today practice and development needs. Build Environ 38(7):919–938CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. European Commission (EC) (2007) 2020 Vision: saving our energy. Accessed 20 Dec 2013
  13. European Commission (EC) (2008) Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste and repealing certain Directives. Off J Eur Union L 312Google Scholar
  14. Fava JA (2006) Will the next 10 years be as productive in advancing life cycle approaches as the last 15 years? Int J LCA 11(1):6–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fay R, Graham T, Usha IR (2000) Life-cycle energy analysis of buildings: a case study. Build Res Inf 28(1):31–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fischer C, Werge M (2011) EU as a Recycling Society—Present recycling levels of Municipal Waste and Construction & Demolition Waste in the EU. European Topic Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production & European Environment Agency. ETC/SCP working paper 2/2009. Accessed 25 June 2013
  17. Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N, Althaus HJ, Doka G, Dones R, Hischier R, Hellweg S, Humbert S, Margni M, Nemecek T, Spielmann M (2007a) Implementation of life cycle impact assessment methods—Data v2.0 (2007). Ecoinvent report No. 3, Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories. Accessed 23 Jan 2013
  18. Frischknecht R, Jungbluth N, Althaus HJ, Doka G, Dones R, Heck T, Hellweg S, Hischier R, Nemecek T, Rebitzer G, Spielmann M, Wernet G (2007b) Overview and methodology—Data v2.0 (2007). Ecoinvent report No. 1, Swiss Centre for Life Cycle Inventories. Accessed 23 Jan 2013
  19. Hafner A, Winter S, Takano A (2012) Wooden products as building material in life cycle analysis. In: Proceedings of the third International Symposium on Life-Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE 2012), Taylor & Francis Group, pp 1530–1537Google Scholar
  20. Höglmeier K, Weber-Blaschke G, Richter K (2013) Potentials for cascading of recovered wood from building deconstruction—a case study for south-east Germany. Resour Conserv Recy 78:81–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holm L, Schaufelberger JE, Grinffin D, Cole T (2005) Construction cost estimating: process and practice. Pearson Education Inc., New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  22. IBU—Institut Bauen und Umwelt (2013) Environmental Product Declarations. Accessed 23 Dec 2013
  23. Lippke B, Wilson J, Meil J, Taylor A (2010) Characterizing the importance of carbon storage in wood products. Wood Fibre Sci 42:5–14Google Scholar
  24. Moncaster AM, Symons KE (2013) A method and tool for ´cradle to grave` embodied carbon and energy impacts of UK buildings in compliance with the new TC350. Energ Build 66:514–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nord T (2008) Prefabrication strategies in the timber housing industry—case studies from Swedish and Austrian markets. Technical Report, Luleå University of Technology. Accessed 31 Mar 2014
  26. Ortiz S, Castells F, Sonnemann G (2009) Sustainability in the construction industry: a review of recent developments based on LCA. Constr Build Mater 23(1):28–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pajchrowski G, Noskowiak A, Lewandowska A, Strykowski W (2014) Wood as a building material in the light of environmental assessment of full life cycle of four buildings. Constr Build Mater 52:428–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Passer A, Kreiner H, Maydl P (2012) Assessment of the environmental performance of buildings: a critical evaluation of the influence of technical building equipment on residential buildings. Int J LCA 17(9):1116–1130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pawelzik P, Carus M, Hotchkiss J, Narayan R, Selke S, Wellisch M, Weiss M, Wicke M, Patel MK (2013) Critical aspects in the life cycle assessment (LCA) if bio-based materials—reviewing methodologies and deriving recommendations. Resour Conserv Recycl 73:211–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peeredoom EC, Rene K, Saul L, Sven L (1999) Influence of inventory data sets on lice-cycle assessment results: a case study on PVC. J Ind Ecol 2:109–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peurifoy R, Oberlender G (2002) Estimating construction costs, 5th edn. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, BostonGoogle Scholar
  32. Popescu CM, Phaobunjong K, Ovararin N (2005) Estimating building costs. Marcel Dekker Inc., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Rüter S, Diederichs S (2012) Ökobilanz-Basisdaten für Bauprodukte aus Holz (In German) (Life cycle assessment datasets for wood-based building product). Universität Hamburg, Thünen-Institute of Wood Research, Report No: 2012/01. Accessed 20 Dec 2013
  34. Scheuer C, Keoleian GA, Reppe P (2003) Life cycle energy and environmental performance of a new university building: model challenges and design implications. Energ Build 35(10):1049–1064CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. SFS 5139 (2011) Rakennuksen Pinta-alat (In Finnish) (Building areas). Finnish standards associationGoogle Scholar
  36. Takano A, Winter S, Hughes M, Linkosalmi L (2014) Comparison of life cycle assessment databases: a case study on building assessment. Build Environ 79:20–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. The German Heat and Power Association (2006) AGFW- Branchenreport 2006 (in German) (AGFW- Field report 2006), Accessed 31 Mar 2014
  38. Thormark C (2006) The effect of material choice on the total energy need and recycling potential of a building. Build Environ 41(8):1019–1026CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Venkatarama Reddy BV, Jagadish KS (2003) Embodied energy of common and alternative building materials and technologies. Energ Build 35(2):129–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Verbeeck G, Hens H (2007) Life cycle optimization of extremely low energy dwellings. J Build Phys 31(2):143–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Werner F, Richter K (2007) Wooden building products in comparative LCA. Int J LCA 12(7):470–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wittstock B et al. (2012) EeBGuide Guidance Document, part A: products and part B: Buildings. Operational guidance or life cycle assessment studies of the Energy-Efficient Buildings Initiative. Project report. Accessed 20 Dec 2013
  43. Wittstock B, Fischer M, Böttge J, Gantner J, Ockel E, Braune A (2013) Trends in Building & Construction Life Cycle Assessment. In: Proceedings of the Sustainable Buildings—Construction products & Technologies (SB13 Graz), pp 1004–1011Google Scholar
  44. Wood for Good (2013) Lifecycle analysis datasets. Accessed 7 Sept 2014
  45. Ympäristöministeriö (Finnish ministry of the Environment) (2008) Pientalon Huoltokirja (In Finnish) (Single family house service book). Accessed 7 Jul 2013

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atsushi Takano
    • 1
    Email author
  • Annette Hafner
    • 2
  • Lauri Linkosalmi
    • 1
  • Stephan Ott
    • 3
  • Mark Hughes
    • 1
  • Stefan Winter
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forest Products TechnologyAalto UniversityEspooFinland
  2. 2.Ruhr-University, Resource Efficient BuildingBochumGermany
  3. 3.Technical University of Munich, Chair for Timber Structures and Building ConstructionMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations