Canada’s cement and concrete industry applauds recommendations from International Environmental Think Tank

The recent IISD study titled “Emission Omissions: Carbon accounting gaps in the built environment” confirmed that Life-cycle Assessment (LCA) is the best approach for analyzing the carbon cycle in the built environment and reducing emissions. However, the research found that current LCA tools have serious shortcomings. They overlook significant sources of carbon and these gaps could result in misdirected efforts to reduce GHGs. The researchers identified the need to correct poor assumptions about embodied carbon in wood, steel and concrete building products. They singled out forestry products for urgent attention because current LCAs ignore emissions from “biogenic carbon.” The study found that these omissions could represent up to 72% of the life-cycle emissions of wood products. It is a clear warning that efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment will fall short of potential if we continue to rely on incomplete data and incorrect assumptions that wood-based construction materials are inherently less carbon-intensive than steel or concrete.The point is not to single out one material over others, but that more data, greater transparency and robust methods and standards for carbon accounting are needed to mobilize the building industry in the fight against climate change.

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