Carbon Storage & Low Energy Intensity in Harvested Wood Products

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Presentation by Jim Bowyer, Dovetail Partners, at the Blandin Foundation sponsored Forest Values and Carbon Markets: Opportunities for Minnesota conference. February 25-26, 2009 at the Cloquet Forestry Center, Cloquet MN

Carbon Storage & Low Energy Intensity in Harvested Wood Products

  1. 1. Carbon Storage and Low Energy Intensity in Harvested Wood Products: Critically Important in Developing a Rational Carbon Trading Policy
  2. 2. Current carbon protocols under the Kyoto accord award credit only for establishment of new forests on previously non-forested land.
  3. 3. However, proposed rules would provide credit (and payments) for “avoided deforestation.”
  4. 4. The potential for reduced carbon emissions through use of wood rather than more energy intensive non-renewable alternatives is also gaining recognition.
  5. 5. The potential for reduced carbon emissions through use of wood rather than more energy intensive non-renewable alternatives is also gaining recognition. And carbon storage is likely to become an important issue in the green bldg movement.
  6. 6. 1 / Values are based on life cycle assessment and include gathering and processing of raw materials, primary and secondary processing, and transportation. 2 / Source: USEPA (2006). Net Carbon Emissions in Producing a Ton of: 1 / 2 / 4,532 Aluminum (virgin) 2,502 Plastic 694 Steel (virgin) 309 Recycled aluminum (100% recycled content) 291 Concrete block 265 Concrete 220 Recycled steel (100% from scrap) 154 Glass 88 Brick 60 Medium density fiberboard (virgin fiber) 33 Framing lumber Net Carbon Emissions (kg C/metric ton) Material
  7. 7. Consumption of Fossil Fuels (MJ/ft 2 ) Associated with Three Floor Designs Source: Edmonds and Lippke (2004) Total 48.32 24.75 9.93 Steel joist floor Concrete slab floor Dimension lumber wood joist floor
  8. 8. Results of a Life-Cycle Inventory of a Large Office Building Source: Athena Sustainable Materials Institute (1997) * GJ x 10 3 ** kg x 10 3 Construction Total Energy Use* Above Grade Energy Use* CO 2 Emissions** Wood 3.80 2.15 73 Steel 7.35 5.20 105 Concrete 5.50 3.70 132
  9. 9. Total Consumption of Fossil Fuels (MJ/ft 2 ) Associated with Two Exterior Wall Designs in a Warm Climate Home Source: Edmonds and Lippke (2004) 92.49 37.09 Total 8.09 22.31 Cladding 8.51 8.51 Insulation 75.89 6.27 Structural components Concrete Wall Lumber-Framed Wall Type of Exterior Wall Building Element
  10. 10. CaCO 3  CaO + CO 2 limestone Δ lime carbon dioxide 2700 °F Production of Cement – Energy Intensive and a Major Source of Carbon Emissions ↑
  11. 11. 1 / Values are based on life cycle assessment and include gathering and processing of raw materials, primary and secondary processing, and transportation. 2 / Source: USEPA (2006). Net Carbon Emissions in Producing a Ton of: 1 / 2 / 4,532 Aluminum (virgin) 2,502 Plastic 694 Steel (virgin) 309 Recycled aluminum (100% recycled content) 291 Concrete block 265 Concrete 220 Recycled steel (100% from scrap) 154 Glass 88 Brick 60 Medium density fiberboard (virgin fiber) 33 Framing lumber Net Carbon Emissions (kg C/metric ton) Material
  12. 12. 1 / Values are based on life cycle assessment and include gathering and processing of raw materials, primary and secondary processing, and transportation. 2 / Source: USEPA (2006). 3 / A carbon content of 49% is assumed for wood. Net Carbon Emissions in Producing a Ton of: 1 / 2 / 4,532 4,532 Aluminum (virgin) 2,502 2,502 Plastic 694 694 Steel (virgin) 309 309 Recycled aluminum (100% recycled content) 291 291 Concrete block 265 265 Concrete 220 220 Recycled steel (100% from scrap) 154 154 Glass 88 88 Brick -382 60 Medium density fiberboard (virgin fiber) -457 33 Framing lumber Net Carbon Emissions Including Carbon Storage Within Material (kg C/metric ton) 3 / Net Carbon Emissions (kg C/metric ton) Material
  13. 13. Carbon Dioxide Implications of Forest Growth and Wood Use
  14. 14. Tree growth sequesters considerable quantities of carbon <ul><li>Dry wood is 49% by weight carbon. </li></ul><ul><li>For each pound of carbon stored: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3.7 pounds of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2.7 pounds of oxygen are produced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Carbon is stored in the soil, the litter, and in the trunks, branches, twigs, leaves, and roots of trees. </li></ul>Carbon Dioxide Implications of Forest Growth and Wood Use
  15. 15. Cumulative Changes in Carbon Stocks in Soil, Forest Litter, and Standing Trees After Afforestation Source: Marland and Schlamadinger (1999) Soil Litter Trees
  16. 16. Cumulative Changes in Carbon Stocks with Afforestation and Subsequent Harvest After 40 Year Rotation Soil Litter Trees Source: Marland and Schlamadinger (1999)
  17. 17. The production of wood products can add significantly to stocks of stored carbon . . . especially when products have a long service life.
  18. 18. Homebuilding Activity in the United States in the 20 th Century Millions of Units U.S. housing inventory 2000: 116 million units.
  19. 19. Cumulative Changes in Carbon Stocks with Afforestation and Subsequent Harvest After 40 Year Rotation Source: Marland and Schlamadinger (1999)
  20. 20. Projected Change in Carbon Stocks in Ontario’s Forests, 2000-2100 Million metric tons of carbon Source: Colombo, S., Chen, J., and Ter-Milkaelian, M. 2007.
  21. 21. While some wood may be land-filled following processing, wood residues are more commonly burned to produce process steam or electricity.
  22. 22. Also, when wood products, rather than products made from alternative materials, are manufactured and used, emissions of carbon dioxide are minimized.
  23. 23. The use of wood, therefore, results in “carbon storage” in that emissions of carbon are less that what would otherwise have been produced.
  24. 24. Cumulative Changes in Carbon Stocks with Afforestation and Subsequent Harvest After 40 Year Rotation Source: Marland and Schlamadinger (1999) t Carbon
  25. 25. Summary <ul><li>Neither carbon storage in wood nor avoided greenhouse gas emissions resulting from use of wood rather than alternative materials are considered in global carbon protocols. </li></ul><ul><li>The omission is serious, as both factors have a substantial impact on carbon storage and flux. </li></ul><ul><li>Whatever carbon protocol we adopt in Minnesota must, at a minimum, account for carbon storage in wood products. </li></ul>

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