PE International submits final report covering 19 lumber species
THE American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, has announced the completion of its ground-breaking Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research into American hardwoods by PE International. Following the first meeting earlier this year, the critical review panel met once again to assess and comment on the LCA project and have now given their approval to the report that covers 19 different U.S. hardwood lumber species. The panel acknowledged that the quality of the life cycle inventory data had been significantly improved with the additional input of around 40 companies since the first review meeting.
According to the chairman of the review panel, Mathias Finkbeiner, Professor of Life Cycle Engineering at Berlin University “this is one of the best reports I have seen”. The next phase will include incorporating all technical comments that were raised by the panel into the report, following which it can be published by AHEC as fully compliant with ISO 14040 standard for life cycle. Ultimately, the report will be used by AHEC as input into species profiles and also to supplement the profile of projects where US hardwoods have been used. Further, AHEC will be able to claim that the data in the report is accurate, independently reviewed and ISO standard compliant, thereby serving as the foundation for any claims AHEC makes about the life cycle impacts of American hardwoods.
“On account of the fact that the report by itself is not a public communication tool, we plan to license the ‘i-report’ modeling tool to AHEC members so that they can develop their own specific LCA profiles for particular parcels of lumber. Companies can therefore select a range of variables applicable to their own shipments and this information can be made available in a series of easy to view charts, which can also be provided to their customers. The hope is that providing science-based information on the environmental credentials of American hardwoods, architects and specifiers in the Middle East will be able to select the material on the basis of full environmental disclosure,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania.
Once the report is formally approved, PE International will use it as the basis for compiling a few representative Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for US hardwood lumber and it is these EPD’s that will be used to establish ratings within green building systems and sustainable building codes. In the meantime, the process is already under way to collect life cycle inventory data for US hardwood veneer, so that this report can follow on shortly after the publication of the lumber report. A number of veneer producers have already agreed to submit data questionnaires and PE will follow this up with site visits to selected manufacturers.