Dutch broaden hardwood LCA horizons

Photo GWW Houtimport

Netherlands timber market development body Centrum Hout has posted latest hardwood Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and associated life cycle assessment (LCA) data online. The organisation is also discussing strategies for LCA work on African hardwoods with the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ATIBT), a collaboration established at the STTC annual conference in Berlin last November.

The new EPDs for hardwoods used in civil engineering projects were put together by the Dutch Institute for Building Biology and Ecology (NIBE), which was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in a joint programme with Centrum Hout for circular economic development and greater use of wood as a bio-based material.

Available for download at www.europeansttc.com/marketing and www.houtindegww.nl/LCA, they provide information on the timber, product and manufacturing process, with summaries of LCA outcomes, giving sustainability scores for comparison with different materials. Extended versions are available by contacting the Centrum Hout helpdesk, helpdesk@centrum-hout.nl.

The product categories comprise various dimensions of pile planking, road safety barriers, roadway signage portals or arches, and decking.

The timbers selected are the species with highest market share in the particular application from a specific source, so for pile planking Angelim vermelho representing South American hardwood, Robinia representing European hardwoods and Azobé representing African hardwoods.

For safety barriers, the EPD is for Azobé and Angelim vermelho, using steel connectors, and, for roadway signage portals, laminated Larch beams and columns.

Decking LCAs are for Angelim vermelho, representing South American hardwoods, Oak, representing European hardwoods and Azobé representing African.

The EPDs will feed into the Hout in de GWW project, which Centrum Hout has been involved in for four years with leading Dutch hardwood suppliers to promote use of hardwoods in civil engineering applications (read more here: http://www.europeansttc.com/blueprint-for-a-promotional-highway/). Efforts in the Netherlands to further develop use of timber continue.

And efforts in the Netherlands to further develop use of timber continue. On February 3 the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Centrum Hout and 11 of its members signed a ‘letter of intent’, with the aim of using 10% more wood (and other biobased materials) in civil engineering projects by 2030.

In conversations with ATIBT, Centrum Hout also shared its experiences in organising, surveying and analysing data for LCA.  “We addressed potential pitfalls and opportunities as well as some ideas on making the process as effective as possible,” said Mr Munck.