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.