Life Cycle Assessment on modern timber bridges

Yishu Niu*, Gerhard Fink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


Demands of sustainability and environmentally friendly structures have been rising rapidly in recent years, especially in Nordic countries where timber has been strongly promoted in the construction sector. Due to this tendency, a reliable assessment of the environmental performance of timber bridges through their life cycles is needed. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is chosen as the common approach to conduct the assessment, but so far, the implementation of LCA on timber bridges is rather limited. To have an overview of the environmental performance of timber bridges, this paper surveys literature about LCA implementations on modern timber bridges and on bridges made of other materials as reference. Variances between the investigated LCA implementations and their influences are documented and discussed, including the specification of the goal, the applied Life Cycle Impact Assessment methods and the interpretation. Common conclusions from the literature are classified, e.g. the material production stage results in the largest share of environmental impact or the effect of transport disruption during bridge maintenance should be considered. The survey reveals that there is lack of uniformly agreed criteria on LCA for timber bridges. The paper concludes critical issues, challenges and possible improvement for the future LCA implementations on timber bridges. © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-225
Number of pages14
JournalWood Material Science and Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • CO emissions
  • LCA
  • LCIA
  • timber bridges


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