Cities as carbon sinks - Classification of wooden buildings

Ali Amiri*, Juudit Ottelin, Jaana Sorvari, Seppo Junnila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although buildings produce a third of greenhouse gas emissions, it has been suggested that they might be one of the most cost-effective climate change mitigation solutions. Among building materials, wood not only produces fewer emissions according to life-cycle assessment but can also store carbon. This study aims to estimate the carbon storage potential of new European buildings between 2020 and 2040. While studies on this issue exist, they mainly present rough estimations or are based on a small number of case studies. To ensure a reliable estimation, 50 different case buildings were selected and reviewed. The carbon storage per m2 of each case building was calculated and three types of wooden buildings were identified based on their carbon storage capacity. Finally, four European construction scenarios were generated based on the percentage of buildings constructed from wood and the type of wooden buildings. The annual captured CO2 varied between 1 and 55 Mt, which is equivalent to between 1% and 47% of CO2 emissions from the cement industry in Europe. This study finds that the carbon storage capacity of buildings is not significantly influenced by the type of building, the type of wood or the size of the building but rather by the number and the volume of wooden elements used in the structural and non-structural components of the building. It is recommended that policymakers aiming for carbon-neutral construction focus on the number of wooden elements in buildings rather than more general indicators, such as the amount of wood construction, or even detailed indirect indicators, such as building type, wood type or building size. A practical scenario is proposed for use by European decision-makers, and the role of wood in green building certification is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number094076
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume15
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • carbon storage
  • COcapture
  • green buildings
  • LEED

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cities as carbon sinks - Classification of wooden buildings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this