Environmental Assessment

As outlined in the various sections, in every stage of the life cycle Accoya’s sustainably sourced timber provides compelling environmental advantages.

Sustainable Wood

Sustainable Wood

Referenced to Recognised Standards

As we value transparency at Accsys, all claims about our sustainable lumber are always referenced to recognised standards. Therefore, the environmental performance of Accoya is thoroughly tested and published following uncompromising leading independent international methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis (LCA following ISO 14040/44) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD following ISO 14025 and EN 15804). Besides this we seek to acquire the most respected ecolabels worldwide.

Carbon Footprint

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (cradle to gate) –  Cradle-to-gate is an assessment of a partial product life cycle from resource extraction (cradle) to the factory gate (i.e., before it is transported to the consumer).

In a carbon footprint assessment, the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) during the life cycle of a material can be measured, and compared to alternative products in terms of kg CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e). A carbon footprint assessment was executed for Accoya wood by Verco in line with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Protocol best practice guidelines, based on a cradle to gate scenario, thus until the factory gate. This includes sourcing, harvesting and processing of the input timber, as well as all energy and raw material consumption and waste production in the acetylation plant of Accsys Technologies in Arnhem, the Netherlands. The results are shown in the graph.

Aluminum

Assumed (UK) ratio of 25.6% extrusions, 55.7% Rolled & 8.7% castings. World-wide average recycled content of 33%. Inventory of Carbon and Energy, University of Bath, 2011.

Steel

EU 3-average recycled content of 59%. Estimated from UK’s consumption mixture of types of steel (excluding stainless). All data excludes the final cutting of the steel products to the specified dimensions or further fabrication activities. Estimated from World Steel Association (Worldsteel) LCA data. Inventory of Carbon and Energy, University of Bath, 2011.

Red Meranti*

Red Meranti Shorea curtisii is a moderately durable timber commonly used for plywood, interior furniture, construction, joinery products, veneer, and boat-building.

Azobe*

Azobé wood is very durable, class 1-2. Also called Ekki, the timber is often used for all kind of hydraulic constructions, like bridge constructions, decking’s, sheet pilings, jetties, sound barriers, stables and piles.

PVC

28.1 MJ/kg Feedstock Energy (Included). Based on market average consumption of types of PVC in the European construction industry. Inventory of Carbon and Energy, University of Bath, 2011.

Western Red Cedar*

Thuja plicata, commonly called western red cedar or Pacific red cedar,  is a species of Thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae native to western North America.

Concrete

This is standard cement with no cementitious additions (i.e. fly ash or blast furnace slag). Composition 94% clinker, 5% gypsum, 1% minor additional constituents (mac’s). This data has been estimated from the British Cement Association’s factsheets. Inventory of Carbon and Energy, University of Bath, 2011.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic Tiles and cladding Panels. Density from Inventory of Carbon and Energy, University of Bath, 2011.

Plywood

Worst case scenario – outdoor use plywood (more similar to Accoya). Inventory of Carbon and Energy, University of Bath, 2011.

MDF**

Ecoinvent, 2010 database, list number 2,479.

Azobe**

Azobé wood is very durable, class 1-2. Also called Ekki, the timber is often used for all kind of hydraulic constructions, like bridge constructions, decking’s, sheet pilings, jetties, sound barriers, stables and piles.

Red Meranti**

Dark Red Meranti Shorea curtisii is a moderately durable timber, commonly used for plywood, interior furniture, construction, joinery products, veneer, and boat-building.

Accoya

Accoya modified wood made in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Western Red Cedar**

Thuja plicata, commonly called western red cedar or Pacific red cedar,  is a species of Thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae native to western North America.

Western Red Cedar**

Thuja plicata, commonly called western red cedar or Pacific red cedar,  is a species of Thuja, an evergreen coniferous tree in the cypress family Cupressaceae native to western North America.

Carbon Footprint

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (cradle to grave) –Cradle-to-grave is the full Life Cycle Assessment from resource extraction (‘cradle’) to use phase and disposal phase (‘grave’)

The graph shows the greenhouse gas emissions per m³ of Accoya wood from the Verco report, translated into real life application of a window frame by Delft University of Technology, in order to account for the use-phase aspects such as material use, durability, carbon sequestration (following PAS 2050 guidelines), maintenance and recycling scenarios. For details of the calculation please refer to the resources at the bottom of this section.

The results show that Accoya scores significantly better than metals (aluminum), plastics (PVC), and unsustainably sourced hardwood and is on par with sustainably sourced (certified) hardwood. In case locally sourced sustainable lumber is used to produce Accoya, it is the best choice from environmental point of view, not yet including the better performance characteristics such as the improved dimensional stability and UV resistance.

Interestingly, because of the limited emissions during production, carbon credits that can be ‘earned’ through i) temporary carbon storage during use (especially in case of a long lifespan) and ii) incineration for electricity in the End of Life phase, all sustainably sourced wood alternatives, including Accoya, are CO₂ negative over the full life cycle. It should be noted that the annual yield of renewable materials is not included in the carbon footprint, which, as detailed before, provides an important additional environmental advantage to wood, and in particular for Accoya based on Radiata Pine, over non renewable materials. For example, the availability of sustainably sourced Meranti is limited, which makes illegal sourcing – with its catastrophic consequences – of this slow growing hardwood species from tropical forests a reality which often occurs.

*Unsustainably Sourced

Red Meranti

Red Meranti 4905kg CO2eq / m3 (Verco) density 710kg/m3 = 6.91 kg CO2 eq/kg

Aluminum

Idemat 2012 Aluminum trade mix (45% prim 55% sec) 6.26kg CO2eq/kg aluminum

PVC & Steel

Idemat 2012 PVC: 2.01kg CO2eq/kg PVC
Idemat 2012 Steel beams, pipes, sheet (from amrket mix) 1.89Kg CO2eq/kg steel

Accoya

Accoya radiata pine 342kg CO2eq / m3 (Verco) density 510 kg/m3 = 0.67 kg CO2eq /kg

Accoya

Accoya radiata pine 342kg CO2eq / m3 (Verco) density 510 kg/m3 = 0.67 kg CO2eq /kg

Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration

Life Cycle Assessment and Environmental Product Declaration

Besides the carbon footprint, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) according to ISO 14040/44 and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) according to ISO 14025 / EN 15804 are two other commonly used methodologies to assess the environmental impact of a product. Besides the Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is a carbon footprint, LCA and EPD also include environmental effects such as acidification, eutrophication, smog, dust, bio-diversity, toxicity, depletion, land-use and waste. Although more difficult to overview than the single indicator carbon footprint, the LCA and EPD provide similar results as the carbon footprint. For details refer to the resources below.

Downloads

Helpful Resources

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