Carbon stored by furnishing wood-based products: An Italian case study
The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is constantly rising, with severe effects on global climate change. To mitigate impacts of climate change, the role of forest in terms of carbon sequestration are well-known as trees naturally pull CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. Contrarily, only recently the carbon mitigation value of wood-based products in buildings has been recognized. Buildings are a fundamental sector for wood-based products, both in terms of volume and service life length. In particular, furnishings in housing include high quantities of wood-based products; they are usually made, partly or entirely, by solid wood or by wood-based panels such as plywood, particleboard and medium density fiberboard. These wood furnishings store biogenic carbon during their service life. In this context, the present study investigated the amount of carbon stored by furnishing wood-based products for an apartment in Torino, Italy. The overall amount, determined according to European Standard, resulted in 3531 kg of CO2-equivalents stored. This corresponds to 45,8 kg/m2 of indoor walkable area; simulating lower and higher intensity usages of wood-based products provided carbon storage values of 35,1 and 55,3 kg/m2, respectively. On the whole, the present study gave an order of magnitude of the role played in carbon storage by furnishing wood-based products in building and illustrates their relevance in mitigating climate change.
Anderson, T.R.; Hawkins, E.; Jones, P.D. 2016. CO2, the greenhouse effect and global warming: from the pioneering work of Arrhenius and Callendar to today’s Earth System Models. Endeavour 40(3):178-187.
Baldwin, R.F. 1995. Plywood and veneer-based products. Manufacturing practices. Miller Freeman Inc.: San Francisco.
Bergman, R. 2010. Drying and control of moisture content and dimensional changes. In: Wood handbook-Wood as an engineering material. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory: Madison.
Bergman, R. 2012. The effect on climate change impacts for building products when including the timing of greenhouse gas emissions. Ph.D. Dissertation. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. 278 p.
Bergman, R.; Falk, R.; Salazar, J.; Gu, H.; Napier, T.; Meil, J.M. 2013. Life-cycle energy and GHG emissions for new and recovered softwood framing lumber and hardwood flooring considering end-of-life scenarios. Research Paper FPL-RP-672. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 33 p
Bergman, R.; Puettman, M.; Taylor, A.; Skog, K. 2014. The carbon impacts of wood products. Forest Products Journal 64(7/8): 220-231.
Cannari, L.; Faiella, I. 2008. House prices and housing wealth in Italy. In: Household wealth in Italy, Banca d’Italia (Working Paper) No. A4. 31 pp.
Comune di Padova. 2017. Contratti di locazione (contratti tipo). Available
Elling, J.; McKeever, D.B. 2018. Wood products used in residential repair and remodeling in the United States, 2014. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-256. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory . 31 p.
European standard. EN. 2014. Wood and wood-based products - Calculation of the biogenic carbon content of wood and conversion to carbon dioxide EN 16449.
European Environment Agency. 2016. Monitoring CO2 emissions from new passengers’ cars and vans in 2015. EEA Report n. 27/2016.
Engineered Wood Products. EWPAA. 2008. Facts about particleboard and MDF. Australian Wood Panels Association Incorporated: Coolangatta. Available
Forster, P.; Ramaswamy, V.; Artaxo, P.; Bernsten, T.; Betts, R.; Fahey, D.W.; Haywood, J.; Lean, J.; Lowe, D.C.; Myhre, G.; Nganga, J.; Prinn, R.; Raga, G.; Schulz, M.; Van Dorland, R. 2007. Changes in atmospheric constituents and in radiative forcing. In Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basic. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Solomon, S; Quin, D; Manning, M; Chen, Z; Marquis, M; Averyt, KB; Tignor, M; Miller, HL. Eds.; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Cambridge, U.K. and New York.
Friedlingstein, P.; Solomon, S.; Plattner, G.K.; Knutti, R.; Clais, P.; Raupach, M.R. 2011. Long-term climate implications of twenty-first century options for carbon dioxide emission mitigation. Nature Climate Change 1:457-461.
Geng, H.; Yang, H.; Chen, J.; Hong, Y. 2017. Review of carbon storage function of harvested wood and the potential of wood substitution in greenhouse gas mitigation. Forest Policy and Economics 85(1):192-200.
Giordano, G. 1997. Wood anthology. (In Italian). Consorzio LegnoLegno, Reggio Emilia.
Hansen, J.; Johnson, D.; Lacis, A.; Lebedeff, S.; Lee, P.; Rind, D.; Russell, G. 1981. Climate inpact of increasing climate change. Science 213(4511):957-966.
Houghton, J. 2015. Global warming: the complete briefing. 5th edition. Cambridge Univerisy Press: Cambridge.
International Panel on Climate Change. 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.). IPCC: Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp.
Kurt, R.; Cil, M. 2012. Effects of press pressure on glue line thickness and properties of laminated veneer lumber glued with melamine urea formaldehyde adhesive. Bioresources 7(3):4341-4349.
Lippke, B.; Oneil, E.; Harrison, R.; Skog, K.; Gustavsson, L.; Sathre, R. 2011. Life cycle impacts of forest management and wood utilization on carbon mitigation: Knowns and unknowns. Carbon Management 2(3):303-333.
McKeever, D.B.; Elling, J. 2015. Wood products and other building materials used in new residential construction in the United States, with comparison to previous studies 2012. Tacoma, WA: APA - The Engineered Wood Assoc. 75p.
McKinley, D.C.; Ryan, M.G.; Birdsey, R.A.; Giardina, C.P.; Harmon, M.E.; Heath, L.S.; Houghton, R.A.; Jackson, R.B.; Morrison, J.F.; Murray, B.C.; Pataki, D.E.; Skog, K.E. 2011. A synthesis of current knowledge on forests and carbon storage in the United States. Ecological Applications 21(6): 1902-1924.
Meil, J.; Lippke, B.; Perez-Garcia, J.; Bowyer, J.; Wilson, J. 2004. Environmental impacts of a single family building shell-From harvest to construction. CORRIM: Phase I Final Report:. Module J. University of Washington: Seattle, WA. 38p.
Miner, R.A.; Abt, R.C.; Bowyer, J.L.; Buford, M.A.; Malmsheimer, R.W.; O'Laughlin, J.; Oneil, E.E.; Sedjo, R.A.; Skog, K.E. 2014. Forest carbon accounting considerations in US bioenergy policy. Journal of Forestry112(6):591-606.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA. 2018. The NOAA annual greenhouse gas index (AGGI). Earth System Research Laboratory Boulder, CO. < http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/global.html > (accessed on 07.05.2018).
O’Connor, J. 2004. Survey on actual service lives for North American buildings. In: Presented at the Proceedings of Woodframe Housing Durability and Disaster Issues Conference. October 4-6, 2004. Las Vegas, Nevada ; Forest Products Society: Madison, Wisconsin.
Pachauri, R.K.; Allen, M.R.; Barros, V.R.; Broome, J.; Cramer, W.; Christ, R.; Church, J.A.; Clarke, L.; Dahe, Q.; Dasgputa, P.; Dubash, N.K.; Edenhofer, O.; Elgizouli, I.; Field, C.B.; Forster, P.; Friedlingstein, P.; Fuglestvedt, J.; Gomez-Echeverri, L.; Hallegatte, S.; Hegerl, G.; Hownden, M.; Jiang, K.; Jimenez Cisneroz, B.; Kattsov, V.; Lee, H.; Mach, K.J.; Marotzke, J.; Mastrandrea, M.D.; Meyer, L.; Minx, J.; Mulugetta, Y.; O'Brien, K.; Oppenheimer, M.; Pereira, J.J.; Pichs-Madruga, R.; Plattner, G.K.; Pörtner, H.O.; Power, S.B.; Preston, B.; Ravindranath, N.H.; Reisinger, A.; Riahi, K.; Rusticucci, M.; Scholes, R.; Seyboth, K.; Sokona, Y.; Stavins, R.; Stocker, T.F.; Tschakert, P.; Van Vuuren, D.; Van Ypserle, J.P. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. R. Pachauri and L. Meyer (editors), Geneva, Switzerland: IPCC, 151 p. ISBN: 978-92-9169-143-2.
Pilli, R.; Fiorese, G.; Grassi, G. 2015. EU mitigation potential of harvested wood products. Carbon Balance and Management 10:6
Ramage, M.H.; Burridge, H.; Busse-Wicher, M.; Fereday, G.; Reynolds, T.; Shah, D.U.; Wu, G.; Yu, L.; Fleming, P.; Densley-Tingley, D.; Allwood, J.; Dupree, P.; Linden, P.F.; Scherman, O. 2017. The wood from the trees: the use of timber in construction. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review 68(1):333-359.
Resch, H. 2008. Considering changes in wood utilization - A European perspective. Maderas- Cienc Tecnol 10(1):61-68.
Salazar, J.; Bergman, R. 2013. Temporal considerations of carbon sequestration in LCA. In: Proceedings from the LCA XIII Conference, October 1-3, 2013, Orlando, FL: 136-142.
SCRIPPS. 2018. The keeling curve. Available at
Simpson, W.T. 1993. Specific gravity, moisture content, and density relationship for wood. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory: Madison.
Skog, K.E. 2008. Sequestration of carbon in harvested wood products for the United States. Forest Products Journal 58(6):56-72.
Smith, J.E.; Heath, L.S.; Skog, K.E.; Birdsey, R.A. 2006. Methods for calculating forest ecosystem and harvested carbon with standard estimates for forest types of the United States. General Technical Report NE-343. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, Newtown Square: Pennsylvania. 216p.
Takano, A.; Hafner, A.; Linkosalmi, L.; Ott, S.; Hughes, M.; Winter, S. 2015. Life cycle assessment of wood construction according to the normative standards. European Journal of Wood and Wood Products 73(3):299-312.
Theomen, H.; Irle, M.; Sernek, M. 2010. Wood-based panels. An introduction for specialists. Brunel University Press: London.
Thomas, D.C. 2001. Carbon dioxide mitigation: a challenge for the twenty-first century. In: Carbon Management: Implications for R&D in the Chemical Sciences and Technology: A Workshop Report to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable. National Academies Press (US): Washington (DC).
Thomas, S.C.; Martin, A.R. 2012. Carbon Content of Tree Tissues: A Synthesis. Forests3(2):332-352.
Thonemann, N.; Schumann, M. 2016. Environmental impacts of wood-based products under consideration for cascade utilization: a systematic literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production 172(2018):4181-4188.
United States Department of Commerce. 2017. Characteristics of new housing. Available
Vitale, P.; Arena, U. 2018. An attributional life cycle assessment for an Italian residential multifamily building. Environmental Technology 39(23): 3033-3045.
Wellons, J.D.; Krahmer, R.L.; Sandoe, M.D.; Jokerst, R.W. 1983. Thickness loss in hot-pressed plywood. Forest Products Journal 33(1):27-34.
Wang, B.J.; Ellis, S.; Dai, C. 2006. Veneer surface roughness and compressibility pertaining to plywood/LVL manufacturing. Part II. Optimum panel densification. Wood and Fiber Science 38(4):727-735.
Williamson, P. 2016. Emissions reduction: scrutinize CO2 removal methods. Nature 530:153-155.
Wilson, J.B. 2010a. Life-cycle inventory of particleboard in terms of resources, emissions, energy and carbon. Wood and Fiber Science 42(CORRIM Special Issue):90-106.
Wilson, J.B. 2010b. Life-cycle inventory of medium density fiberboard in terms of resources, emissions, energy and carbon. Wood and Fiber Science 42(CORRIM Special Issue):107-124.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.