Prolonging life cycles of construction materials and combating climate change by cascading : The case of reusing timber in Finland

Yishu Niu*, Kaarle Rasi, Mark Hughes, Minna Halme, Gerhard Fink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the economic, environmental and technological challenges, as well as the environmental potential, of prolonging the life cycle of construction materials with focus on structural timber in Finland. To achieve this, a literature review was conducted along with interviews with actors pertinent to timber construction. Moreover, a case study of life cycle environmental impact assessment was conducted to quantify the potential of reusing timber to abate global warming and other environmental burden. The literature review highlighted the possibility of reusing structural timber, but pointed to the need for efficient and standardized assessment criteria. The interviews indicated interest towards the concept of circular economy applied to construction and demolition wood material, although this appears to be driven more by policy and regulation rather than for business reasons. Therefore, a reconfigured conceptual framework to achieve circularity for wood is proposed, where material brokers would be used to connect different actors along the value chain. The paper concludes with a case study showing that reusing structural timber components can result in a significant reduction of the environmental burden.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105555
Number of pages10
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume170
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Carbon footprint
  • Cascading
  • Circular economy
  • Environmental impact
  • Reuse
  • Timber

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