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Assessing Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as an Alternative Material for Mid-Rise Residential Buildings in Cold Regions in China—A Life-Cycle Assessment Approach

Author

Listed:
  • Ying Liu

    () (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK)

  • Haibo Guo

    () (School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China)

  • Cheng Sun

    () (School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150001, China)

  • Wen-Shao Chang

    () (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK)

Abstract

Timber building has gained more and more attention worldwide due to it being a generic renewable material and having low environmental impact. It is widely accepted that the use of timber may be able to reduce the embodied energy of a building. However, the development of timber buildings in China is not as rapid as in some other countries. This may be because of the limitations of building regulations and technological development. Several new policies have been or are being implemented in China in order to encourage the use of timber in building construction and this could lead to a revolutionary change in the building industry in China. This paper is the first one to examine the feasibility of using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as an alternative solution to concrete by means of a cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment in China. A seven-storey reference concrete building in Xi’an was selected as a case study in comparison with a redesigned CLT building. Two cities in China, in cold and severe cold regions (Xi’an and Harbin), were selected for this research. The assessment includes three different stages of the life span of a building: materialisation, operation, and end-of-life. The inventory data used in the materialisation stage was mostly local, in order to ensure that the assessment appropriately reflects the situation in China. Energy consumption in the operation stage was obtained from simulation by commercialised software IES TM , and different scenarios for recycling of timber material in the end-of-life are discussed in this paper. The results from this paper show that using CLT to replace conventional carbon intensive material would reduce energy consumption by more than 30% and reduce CO 2 emission by more than 40% in both cities. This paper supports, and has shown the potential of, CLT being used in cold regions with proper detailing to minimise environmental impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Ying Liu & Haibo Guo & Cheng Sun & Wen-Shao Chang, 2016. "Assessing Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as an Alternative Material for Mid-Rise Residential Buildings in Cold Regions in China—A Life-Cycle Assessment Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(10), pages 1-13, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:10:p:1047-:d:80793
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Assessing China’s carbon intensity pledge for 2020: stringency and credibility issues and their implications," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(3), pages 219-235, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:8:p:1426-:d:108000 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Haibo Guo & Ying Liu & Wen-Shao Chang & Yu Shao & Cheng Sun, 2017. "Energy Saving and Carbon Reduction in the Operation Stage of Cross Laminated Timber Residential Buildings in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-17, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cross Laminated Timber (CLT); cold regions; cradle-to-grave; LCA;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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