Comparative carbon footprint analysis of residents of wooden and non-wooden houses in Finland

Juudit Ottelin*, Ali Amiri, Bernhard Steubing, Seppo Junnila

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Sustainable forest management and harvested wood products together can create a growing carbon sink by storing carbon in long-lived products. The role of wood products in climate change mitigation has been studied from several perspectives, but not yet from a consumer's view. In this study, we examine the impact of wooden housing on consumer carbon footprints in Finland. We use the 2016 Finnish Household Budget Survey and Exiobase 2015, a global multi-regional input-output model. The sample size is 3700 households, of which 45% live in a wooden house. We find that residents of wooden houses have a 12(+/- 3)% (950 kg CO2-eq/year) lower carbon footprint on average than residents of non-wooden houses, when income, household type, education of the main income provider, age of the house, owner-occupancy and urban zone are controlled in regression analysis. This is not fully explained by the impact of the construction material, which suggests that the residents of wooden houses may have some features in their lifestyles that lower their carbon footprints further. In addition, we find that an investment in a new wooden house in an urban area has a strong reducing impact on a consumer's carbon footprint, while investments in other types of housing have a weaker or no reducing impact. Our findings support wooden housing as a meaningful sustainable consumption choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074006
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • wood products
  • wood construction
  • negative rebound effect
  • green investment
  • sustainable consumption
  • ENERGY
  • BUILDINGS
  • CONSUMPTION
  • EMISSIONS
  • PRODUCTS
  • REBOUNDS
  • BENEFITS
  • INCREASE
  • LCA

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