The potential for improvement in the environmental performance of Accoya® wood is important to us. We have therefore commissioned Camco, the leading environmental consultancy agency, to assess the carbon footprint of Accoya® wood. Furthermore, we actively seek to acquire the most respected ecolabels available and have been recognised as an exemplary company in the field of sustainability on various occasions.
Our carbon footprint – based on a cradle to gate scenario – was assessed in 2009 by Camco, a leading climate change and environmental consultancy company (www.camcoglobal.com). The report may be downloaded here.
The figures below show the greenhouse gas emissions per m3 of Accoya® wood from the Camco report, published in kg CO2 equivalent per m3, and translated into real life applications in order to account for the use-phase aspects.
In this application-based cradle to grave assessment, aspects such as material use, durability, carbon sequestration and maintenance were taken into account for a fair comparison with other building materials. The figures exclude the end-of-life phase, which could provide additional carbon advantages to wood products, including Accoya® in the case of incineration for energy production (substitute for fossil fuels).
For the comparison, applications were chosen in which Accoya® could also be compared with manmade non-renewable materials such as plastic and metal – a window frame and the load-bearing structure of a pedestrian bridge. In order for the comparison to be fair, all alternatives in these applications had to meet the same functional requirements (e.g. equal load-bearing requirements for the pedestrian bridge). For Accoya® it was assumed that the acetic anhydride required for production was based on “production mix” figures (average of Ketene route and Methyl Acetate Carbonylation) and input timber was conservatively assumed to be Radiata Pine from New Zealand, although closer sources may be available. The results for both applications are shown in the graphs below.
Figure: Carbon footprint comparison for Accoya® wood with material alternatives for a window frame
Figure: Carbon footprint comparison for Accoya® wood with material alternatives for the load-bearing structure of a pedestrian bridge
The graphs show that Accoya® scores significantly better than metals (steel and aluminium), plastics (PVC), unsustainably sourced timber and concrete in terms of carbon footprint per year, and is competitive with sustainably sourced (certified) timber. It should be noted that the annual yield of renewable materials is not included in the carbon footprint, which, as detailed above, provides an important additional green credential to Accoya® wood compared to other wood species and non-renewable materials.