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Commissioned Reports - Environmental Issues: Sustainabilty


Date: 2009
Title: Sustainable construction timber: Sourcing and specifying local timber.
Authors: Report produced by Forestry Commission Scotland
Full Report: PDF

Summary
The publication seeks to help building designers and contractors source and specify local timber products (sourced within the local region or, failing that obtained from another part of the UK.  The information should also be of value to people considering using their own timber on a construction project.


Date: 209
Title: Designing housing with Scottish timber.
Authors: Report produced by Forestry Commission Scotland
Full Report: PDF

Summary
An update to the 2005 report (which was web published only) which examined sustainable housing and the use the lessons learnt to develop a new prototype, maximising the use of Scottish timber in rural, affordable, low-energy housing provision.  The update drew on the completion of a number of “pilot project”  house completions.


Date: 2009
Title: Designing housing with Scottish timber: Prototype House (2009)
Authors: Report produced by Forestry Commission Scotland
Full Report: PDF

Summary
The provision of locally sourced and produced construction materials is a key part of the sustainable design agenda. Rural Scotland is on the periphery of most transport networks and has vast timber resources. The potential to reduce transportation and increase local employment is huge. This report examines current sustainable housing and uses the lessons learnt to develop a new prototype, maximising the use of Scottish timber in rural, affordable, low energy housing provision. In addition, it examines the practical implementation issues, such as costs and procurement, which need to be addressed.


Date: 2007
Title: Scoping study – Update of environmental assessment for UK forestry (236197)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: PDF

Summary
The work has updated data and scenarios used for Life Cycle Assessment Environmental Profile for the main UK commercially utilised forest species/types (e.g. pine, spruce), primary processing and panel production. It is essential to establish the progress in forest management practices and primary processing in order to upgrade the UK environmental profiles. A scoping study is necessary in order to clearly identify the focus on gathering representative data to reflect any advancements in current practice, for example:

  • forest establishment and growth
  • infrastructure construction and maintenance
  • primary processing routes
  • waste disposal routes within the above processes


The results of this scoping study will ensure a robust structure for a future Life Cycle Assessment Environmental Profiles for all UK timber and wood products used in construction. It is foreseen that significant hotspots could already be identified at the scoping study stage. Future project work based on this scoping study will be able to pinpoint potential improvements within the lifecycle of wood products made from home grown timber as well as further enhancing the LCA profile of UK forestry practices.


Date: 2005
Title: Designing housing with Scottish timber: a guide for designer, specifiers and clients.
Authors: Report produced by Forestry Commission Scotland
Full Report: PDF

Summary
This report examines current sustainable housing and uses the lessons learnt to develop a new prototype, maximising the use of Scottish timber in rural, affordable, low energy housing provision. In addition it examines the practical implementation issues, such as costs, procurement issues and potential hurdles that need to be addressed.

The report is split into two sections, Section One outlines the development of a prototype, initial costs and the issues that would be important in construction. Drawings and supplementary information are within the appendices at the back. Section 2 analyses four case studies of built social housing projects, in terms of their construction, timber usage and environmental credentials. It also considers the main reasons why Scottish timber is currently not commonly used in timber frame buildings.


Date: 2005
Title: Welsh Assembly Building in Aberystwyth (222338)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: PDF

Summary
The construction of new offices for the Welsh Assembly Government, including the Forestry commission for Wales, brings a challenge to designers, procurement and clients alike. As a building constructed at public expense, there is a clear need to demonstrate that current best practice is followed and value for money is obtained. Timber is an important resource in Wales and the new Welsh Assembly offices should reflect this importance by using timber based building elements and components as much as possible. This gives the timber industry an opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved using the Welsh resource, boosting the local economy.

The document aims to provide a basis for discussion between all stakeholders involved in the process, identifying the possible uses of the versatile Welsh timber resource and highlighting some of the procedures needed to enable the use of Welsh timber in the Welsh Assembly building.

The report is subdivided into three main sections:

  • Functional requirements for a building such as the Welsh Assembly
  • The Welsh timber resource
  • Timber businesses and enterprises in Wales

This document draws together all the aspects of timber usage that can be envisaged in the construction of a new building designed to accommodate the members of the Welsh Assembly Government and the Forestry Commission for Wales and others.


Date: 2004
Title: Environmental Profiling for the UK timber industry (231182)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: PDF

Summary
Various claims and counterclaims about ‘environmental friendliness’ of construction products cause a lot of confusion and they are meaningless unless they are supported by robust evidence. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) identifies the material, energy and waste flows of a product over its entire life cycle so that the environmental impacts can be determined in a standardised way.
The UK timber industry must ascertain and demonstrate clear sustainability rationales to potential clients in order to improve their business and stimulate faster growth. By raising awareness within the industry of LCA principles and providing user-friendly information and tools to implement these, the forestry-wood chain will be prepared and well equipped to improve processes, satisfy clients’ requirements, and thus secure and enhance their business and image.  The main findings:

  1. The current sustainable construction agenda provides an excellent opportunity for all industries to improve their profiles.
  2. The review of five robust LCA studies has shown that timber-based products have favourable environmental credentials, but further studies are necessary to support these findings in the long term.
  3. The understanding of, and engagement in, LCA and the sustainable construction agenda has improved considerably across the UK industry. This project provided a valuable insight regarding practicalities of undertaking rigorous environmental assessments for timber manufacturing businesses.
  4. The forestry-wood industries have gained significant motivation during this project. This presents a range of prospects to actively work on addressing a number of issues within the environmental assessment field.

Date: 2003
Title: LCA of timber frame construction (205011)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: Awaiting electronic version



Date: 2003
Title: LCA perceptions (210633)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: PDF

Summary
The project’s goal is to derive dissemination methods for clearly and quickly disseminating environmental information. This Progress Report presents initial findings from a survey into the role of environmental information in the companies of users and producers of wood-based products. It also presents a development draft of a dissemination method aimed at including environmental information in the process of selecting products or materials.


Date: 2001
Title: LCA Timber Frame (204233)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: PDF

Summary
Designers and specifiers are increasingly interested in the environmental performance of materials and components as they seek to produce “green” buildings.  To satisfy the need for such information, the timber frame industry, with its growing market will benefit from having their processes independently assessed and analysed.  The BRE methodology, an accepted, established method amongst supply chain companies and construction professionals, has been used to produce the environmental profile of a timber frame house.  The environmental profile was determined using the data supplied by the timber frame manufacturer who participated in the project and also the environmental profiles from a previous project profiling UK forestry, sawmilling and panel production.
  
This study has produced an initial indicative environmental profile on the manufacture of a typical timber frame house which showed:

  • The impacts of forestry were beneficial, as a result of the carbon sequestered by timber growing in the forest, and dominated the climate change impact.
  • Similar contributions to acid deposition and human toxicity to air were made by each of the impact sources; raw materials, ancillaries and packaging, fuels and transport.
  • Fossil fuel depletion and transport pollution and congestion impact categories were dominated by the transportation of raw materials to site, principally due to the long distances travelled to deliver the sawn timber from Canada and Scandinavia.
  • The fuels and energy used in producing the timber frame were low, mainly comprising electricity and a small amount of diesel, which accounted for around 7% of the impacts of fossil fuel depletion and 8% of the eutrophication with 15% contribution to acid deposition.
  • Mineral extraction impacts for the timber frame house came from the raw materials, mainly the resins used to make the board materials, and the ancillary materials; the adhesive, packaging and extraction of metals.

 
The benefits of using timber in construction have been shown by the negative (beneficial) climate change impact resulting from the carbon sequestered by the growing trees in the forest.   Minimising the transportation of materials by using local sourcing would reduce the impacts of fossil fuel depletion, acid deposition, human toxicity to air and eutrophication.
This study has produced an initial indicative environmental profile however, data from one manufacturer only has been used and the scope does not include any environmental impacts associated with the use of the timber frame house or its disposal. Evaluation of these impacts should be undertaken to allow a complete life cycle assessment of the timber frame house.  Furthermore, if average data from several manufacturers are used,  this information could be incorporated into the BRE database and made more readily available to specifiers and users.
The environmental profile for one timber frame house is presented as a concise environmental profile with numerical and graphical information and conclusions in Annex 1 of this report.



Date: 2001
Title: LCA Leaflet (CV6884)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: Awaiting electronic version


Date: 2000
Title: LCA/PiT CI 38/19/133 (cc1440) (FPD16)
Authors: Report commissioned from BRE
Full Report: Awaiting electronic version