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Study critical of tool for tracking GHGs in building products


April 4, 2019
By Maria Church
Maria Church

A new report commissioned by the Cement Association of Canada is taking issue with the life-cycle assessments (LCAs) used by industry and researchers to account for greenhouse gasses (GHGs) and other impacts of building products.

The report, titled Emission Omissions: Carbon accounting in the built environment, finds LCAs have “limits that may misdirect efforts to reduce GHGs from the built environment,” according to a media release from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which conducted the report.

According to the release, LCAs do notaccount for “biogenic carbon” from the extraction and end-of-life stages of wood building products, such as soil disturbance from logging, variable regeneration rates of forests, and conversion of primary to secondary forests. The report claims these factors could account for up to 70 per cent of total lifecycle emissions.

“These impacts challenge the prevailing assumption wood construction materials are less carbon intensive than steel or concrete and should be favoured,” the release states.

Read the full report here.