Life Cycle Assessment

Wood: the better alternative

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a scientific method for evaluating the environmental impacts of products. LCA considers the resources consumed and the emissions released during a product’s manufacture, use and disposal. LCA studies consistently show that wood products are better than alternative materials in terms of their environmental impacts. Wood is better for the environment than steel or concrete in terms of embodied energy, air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

When evaluating the impact of building materials (steel, wood, concrete, masonry, plastic, composites and glass) one must look at the life of the product from the time it was extracted, to manufacturing, use, service and disposal.  With each step, products can impact our environment. 

Out of all of the materials, wood emerges as the most environmentally responsible choice today.  



Read a white paper about life cycle assessment and forest products from the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

LCA resources from NaturallyWood. 

Reach “Choices” from Western Lumber, the original green building product. 

Wood and Green Building: The Role of Life Cycle Assessment from the Wood Promotion Network. 

Key studies, LCA tools, publications and articles and organizations from WoodWorks.