LCA system should include sequestered carbon stored in the wood plus the inherent renewable nature of the material in question
I agree with John Alker on most of the points in his comment piece (“Sustainable materials: Wood first?”, 13 July, Building), particularly about need for full life-cycle assessment (LCA) on any building project - but that LCA methodology needs to include sequestered carbon stored in the wood and also the inherent renewable nature of the material in question.
The idea for the rule, and the Independent Panel on Forestry recommendations, stems from the environmental, social and economic benefit of the entire timber supply chain to society and economy. It is the only proven method of carbon capture and storage on commercial scale, requires very few inputs in manufacture and processing, can be reused and recycled, and ultimately used as a fuel source at end of life.
But John’s right, that doesn’t mean other materials would not be better suited to certain situations and we have been totally transparent all the way through about recognising that.
I would take issue with the idea that local authorities are involved in design issues - all they are asking for is greater use of wood. You can design and build with it what you want. There are no barriers to design or to use of other materials.
We’ve only ever called for “wood first” - not “wood only”.
David Hopkins, Wood for Good