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Life Cycle Management of wood in Switzerland: methods, tools and environmental decision support

Applicant Hellweg Stefanie
Number 136623
Funding scheme NRP 66 Resource Wood
Research institution Gruppe für ökologisches Systemdesign Institut für Umweltingenieurwissenschaften ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.03.2012 - 30.04.2016
Approved amount 1'007'105.00
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Keywords (7)

Regionalized impact assessment; Cascading; Wood value chain; Life Cycle Assessment; Upscaling; Carbon stock; Material Flow Analysis

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Ökologische Nutzung der Holzressourcen in der Schweiz In diesem Projekt erarbeiten die Forschenden umweltpolitische Entscheidungsgrundla-gen für Politik, Industrie und Forstwirtschaft, um die Holznutzung in der Schweiz zu optimieren. Dabei betrachten sie den gesamten Lebensweg von Holz: von der Forstwirtschaft über die Herstellung und mehrfache Verwendung von Holzprodukten (Kaskadennutzung) bis zur energetischen Verwertung oder Entsorgung.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Steigende Ressourcenpreise und Umweltprobleme verlangen eine effiziente Nutzung von erneuerbaren Ressourcen sowohl für stoffliche als auch energetische Anwendungen. Zukünftige Generationen werden es sich daher nicht mehr erlauben können, die Ressource Holz zu unternutzen, so wie es heute noch der Fall ist. Um Holz besser nutzen zu können, braucht es Modelle, die nicht nur Massenflüsse einbeziehen, sondern auch die Umwelt umfassend und örtlich aufgeschlüsselt bewerten.

Ziel
Das Ziel des Projekts ist die Entwicklung von Strategien, die es erlauben, die Holzressourcen in der Schweiz nachhaltig und effizient zu nutzen. Dafür bewerten die Forschenden bereits existierende und mögliche zukünftige Wertschöpfungsketten mit Hilfe einer dynamischen und örtlich aufgelösten Materialfluss- und Lebenszyklusanalyse, verbessern die Methoden zur Bewertung der ökologischen Auswirkungen von Forstwirtschaft und Holznutzung, evaluieren neue Technologien und geben Feedback an deren Entwickler im Rahmen des NFP 66. Die Erkenntnisse aus dem Projekt dienen den Forschenden dazu, verschiedene Holznutzungssze-narien zu entwickeln und zu bewerten, um daraus Strategien für Entscheidungsträger in Politik, Industrie, Forstwirtschaft und Forschung abzuleiten.

Bedeutung
Das Ergebnis dieses Projekts ist ein Anwendungsprogramm (Softwaretool), mit dem Technologien in der frühen Phase ihrer Entwicklung im Hinblick auf ihre ökologischen Folgen getestet werden können. Erstmalig nutzen können es jene Forschenden, die in Partnerprojek-ten des NFP 66 neue Technologien und Produkte entwickeln. Aufgrund der Erkenntnisse aus den Forschungsarbeiten werden auch politische Strategien für ein ökologisch sinnvolles Management der Ressource Holz vorgeschlagen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.01.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Exploitation écologique des ressources de bois en Suisse Les chercheurs de ce projet élaborent des bases décisionnelles de politique écologique destinées aux acteurs politiques, industriels et sylvicoles pour optimiser l’exploitation du bois en Suisse. Le bois est examiné tout au long de son cycle de vie: de la sylviculture à la production, en passant par ses multiples usages (utilisation en cascade) jusqu’à sa valorisation énergétique ou élimination.
Lay summary

Contexte
Face à la hausse des prix des ressources et aux problèmes écologiques, une exploitation efficace des ressources renouvelables, concernant tant les matières que les applications énergétiques, s’impose. Pour ces raisons, les générations futures ne pourront plus se permettre de sous-exploiter la ressource bois comme nous le faisons aujourd’hui. Une meilleure exploitation du bois appelle des modèles qui intègrent des flux de masse tout en tenant compte du facteur environnemental, aux niveaux global et local.

But
Le projet vise à développer des stratégies permettant une exploitation durable et efficace des ressources de bois en Suisse. A ces fins, par une analyse dynamique et locale des flux de matériaux et des cycles de vie, les chercheurs font une évaluation des chaînes de création de valeur existantes et futures, améliorent les méthodes d’évaluation de l’impact écologique de la sylviculture et de l’exploitation du bois, évaluent les nouvelles technologies et donnent un retour d’information à leurs développeurs dans le cadre du PNR 66. Les chercheurs mettent les conclusions du projet au profit du développement et de l’évaluation de différents scénarios d’exploitation du bois pour en dériver des stratégies destinées aux décideurs des sphères politique, industrielle, sylvicole et scientifique.

Portée
Le but de ce projet est la conception d’un logiciel permettant de tester les technologies dans la phase précoce de leur développement au regard de leur impact écologique. Les chercheurs à l’origine de technologies nouvelles et de produits innovants dans des projets partenaires du PNR 66 en auront la primeur. Sur la base des conclusions tirées de ces travaux, des stratégies politiques seront proposées dans l’optique d’une gestion écologiquement judicieuse de la ressource bois.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.01.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Ecological use of wood resources in Switzerland In this project, researchers develop decision-making aids on environmental policy issues for actors in politics and industry. In so doing, they consider the entire life cycle of wood: from forestry via manufacturing and multiple use of wood products (cascade use) through to its use as a source of energy, or its disposal.
Lay summary

Background
Rising prices of resources and environmental problems call for an efficient use of renewable resources both for material and energetic applications. Thus future generations will not be able to afford to underuse the resource wood, as is still the case today. In order to make better use of wood, models are needed that not only incorporate mass fluxes, but also provide a comprehensive and spatially resolved assessment of the environment.

Aim
The aim of the project is to develop strategies that facilitate the sustainable and efficient use of wood resources in Switzerland. For this purpose, the researchers are studying existing and potential future value chains with the help of dynamic and spatially-resolved material flow and life-cycle analyses, improving methods for the assessment of ecological impacts of forestry and wood use as well as evaluating new technologies and giving feedback to their developers within the scope of NRP 66. The insights gained in the project will help the researchers to develop and assess different wood usage scenarios, from which they will derive strategies for decision-makers in politics, industry, forestry and research.

Significance
The project will result in a software tool which can be used to test nascent technologies in respect of their ecological consequences. First users of the new tool will be researchers developing new technologies and products in NRP 66 partner projects. Based on the knowledge gained through the research work, political strategies for an ecologically sound management of wood as a resource will be proposed.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 25.01.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Environmentally optimal wood use in Switzerland—Investigating the relevance of material cascades
Mehr Jonas, Vadenbo Carl, Steubing Bernhard, Hellweg Stefanie (2018), Environmentally optimal wood use in Switzerland—Investigating the relevance of material cascades, in Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 131, 181-191.
Big data GIS analysis for novel approaches in building stock modelling
Buffat René, Froemelt Andreas, Heeren Niko, Raubal Martin, Hellweg Stefanie (2017), Big data GIS analysis for novel approaches in building stock modelling, in Applied Energy, 208, 277-290.
Impact of Forest Management on Species Richness: Global Meta-Analysis and Economic Trade-Offs
Chaudhary A Burivalova Z Koh LP Hellweg S (2016), Impact of Forest Management on Species Richness: Global Meta-Analysis and Economic Trade-Offs, in Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group), 6, open.
Spatially Explicit Analysis of Biodiversity Loss due to Global Agriculture, Pasture and Forest Land Use from a Producer and Consumer Perspective
Chaudhary A Pfister S Hellweg S (2016), Spatially Explicit Analysis of Biodiversity Loss due to Global Agriculture, Pasture and Forest Land Use from a Producer and Consumer Perspective, in Environmental Science and Technology, 50, 3928-3936.
Streamlining scenario analysis and optimization of key choices in value chains using a modular LCA approach
Steubing B Mutel C Suter F Hellweg S (2016), Streamlining scenario analysis and optimization of key choices in value chains using a modular LCA approach, in International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 21(4), 510-522.
Environmental impact of buildings - what matters?
Heeren Niko, Mutel Christopher L., Steubing Bernhard, Ostermeyer York, Wallbaum Holger, Hellweg Stefanie (2015), Environmental impact of buildings - what matters?, in Environmental Science & Technology, 9832-9841.
Harmonizing the assessment of biodiversity effects from land and water use within LCA
Verones F. Huijbregts M. A. Chaudhary A. de Baan L. Koellner T. Hellweg S. (2015), Harmonizing the assessment of biodiversity effects from land and water use within LCA, in Environmental Science and Technology, 49(6), 3584-3592.
LCA-based optimization of wood utilization under special consideration of a cascading use of wood
Höglmeier K. B. Steubing G. Weber-Blaschke and K. Richter (2015), LCA-based optimization of wood utilization under special consideration of a cascading use of wood, in Journal of Environmental Management, 152, 158-170.
Quantifying Land Use Impacts on Biodiversity: Combining Species-Area Models and Vulnerability Indicators
Chaudhary Abhishek, Verones Francesca, de Baan Laura, Hellweg Stefanie (2015), Quantifying Land Use Impacts on Biodiversity: Combining Species-Area Models and Vulnerability Indicators, in Environmental Science & Technology, 9987-9995.
Welches sind die ökologischsten Holzverwendungen?
Steubing Bernhard, Suter Florian, Heeren Niko, Chaudhary Abhishek, Ostermeyer York, Wallbaum Holger, Hellweg Stefanie (2015), Welches sind die ökologischsten Holzverwendungen?, in Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Forstwesen, 166, 335-338.
Including Indoor Offgassed Emissions in the Life Cycle Inventories of Wood Products
Chaudhary Abhishek, Hellweg Stefanie (2014), Including Indoor Offgassed Emissions in the Life Cycle Inventories of Wood Products, in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 48(24), 14607-14614.
Influence of construction material choice and design parameters on greenhouse gas emissions of buildings.
Heeren Niko (2014), Influence of construction material choice and design parameters on greenhouse gas emissions of buildings., in World Sustainable Building Conference 2014, Barcelona?, Barcelona.
Scaling Relationships in Life Cycle Assessment: The Case of Heat Production from Biomass and Heat Pumps
Caduff M, Köhler A, Huijbregts MAJ, Althaus HJ, Hellweg S (2014), Scaling Relationships in Life Cycle Assessment: The Case of Heat Production from Biomass and Heat Pumps, in Journal of Industrial Ecology, 18(3), 393-406.
Die Ökobilanz der energetischen Holzverwertung: Faktoren für einen hohen ökologischen Nutzen
Steubing Bernhard (2013), Die Ökobilanz der energetischen Holzverwertung: Faktoren für einen hohen ökologischen Nutzen, in Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Forstwesen, 164, 408-419.
Ecological use of wood resources in Switzerland: an overview from the Swiss National Research Program (NRP) 66
Steubing Bernhard, Heeren Niko (2013), Ecological use of wood resources in Switzerland: an overview from the Swiss National Research Program (NRP) 66, in Internationales Holzbauforum (IHF 2013), -.
Building Inventory and Refur-bishment Scenario database development for Switzerland
Ostermeyer Y., Nägeli C, Heeren N, Wallbaum H, Building Inventory and Refur-bishment Scenario database development for Switzerland, in Journal of Industrial Ecology.
Life Cycle Impacts and Benefits of Wood along the Value Chain: The case of Switzerland
Suter Florian, Steubing Bernhard, Hellweg Stefanie, Life Cycle Impacts and Benefits of Wood along the Value Chain: The case of Switzerland, in Journal of Industrial Ecology.
Tracking construction material over space and time: Prospective and geo-referenced modeling of building stocks and construction material flows, Journal of Industrial Ecology
Heeren Niko, Hellweg Stefanie, Tracking construction material over space and time: Prospective and geo-referenced modeling of building stocks and construction material flows, Journal of Industrial Ecology, in Journal of Industrial Ecology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
ETH, Chair of Structural Engineering - Timber Structures Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Truber Holz Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
BAFU Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
TU Munich Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Applied Science Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Beat Kämpfen architects Switzerland (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
ETH, Chair of Geoinformation Engineering Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
ETH, Chair of Sustainable Construction Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
ISIE (International Society of Industrial Ecology) Conference Talk given at a conference A bottom-up model for material-energy coupled environmental assessment of the Swiss building stock 07.07.2015 Guildford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Heeren Niko;
57th LCA Discussion Forum Talk given at a conference The environmental significance of construction: the case of wood buildings 02.12.2014 Zürich, Switzerland Heeren Niko;
SETAC Case Studies Symposium Talk given at a conference Spatially Explicit Global Analysis of Biodiversity Loss from Land Use 24.11.2014 Novi Sad, Serbien Chaudhary Abhishek;
World Sustainable Building Conference Talk given at a conference Influence of construction material choice and design parameters on greenhouse gas emissions of buildings 28.10.2014 Barcelona, Spain Heeren Niko;
Ecobalance Talk given at a conference Fast screening of alternative life cycles and system optimization using flexibly linkable process subsystems 27.10.2014 Tsukuba, Japan Hellweg Stefanie; Suter Florian; Steubing Bernhard; Mutel Christopher;
Ecobalance Poster Modeling climate effects of biogenic carbon flows from forests and wood products at the national level 27.10.2014 Tsukuba, Japan Hellweg Stefanie; Steubing Bernhard; Suter Florian;
Gordon Research Conference of Industrial Ecology Talk given at a conference Optimizing the Life Cycle of Wood (eingeladener Plenarvortrag) 02.06.2014 Barga, Italy Suter Florian; Chaudhary Abhishek; Hellweg Stefanie; Steubing Bernhard; Heeren Niko;
Gordon Research Conference on Industrial Ecology Individual talk Optimizing the Life Cycle of Wood 01.06.2014 Baga, Italy Chaudhary Abhishek; Heeren Niko; Suter Florian; Hellweg Stefanie; Steubing Bernhard;
SETAC Europe Annual Meeting Poster Indoor exposure to emissions from wood products: Complementary views from life cycle assessment and risk assessment (Poster Spotlight) 06.05.2014 Basel, Switzerland Chaudhary Abhishek;
SETAC Europe Annual Meeting Poster Characterizing regionalized land use flows for Swiss forestry products and quantifying their impact on biodiversity 06.05.2014 Basel, Switzerland Chaudhary Abhishek;
SETAC Europe Annual Meeting Poster Ecological Use of Wood Resources in Swizterland - A life cycle based environmental analysis of the resource wood. 05.05.2014 Basel, Switzerland Suter Florian;
Symposium „Stoffstrommanagement und Ressourcenwirtschaft“ Talk given at a conference Welches ist der ökologischste Lebensweg von Holz? Methoden zur Umweltanalyse und Anwendungsbeispiele 01.04.2014 Darmstadt, Germany Suter Florian; Steubing Bernhard; Heeren Niko; Hellweg Stefanie; Chaudhary Abhishek;
Symposium „Stoffstrommanagement und Ressourcenwirtschaft" Talk given at a conference Welches ist der ökologischste Lebensweg von Holz?Methoden zur Umweltanalyse und Anwendungsbeispiele 01.04.2014 Darmstadt, Germany Hellweg Stefanie;
19th International Wood Construction Conference (IHF 2013) Talk given at a conference Ecological use of wood resources in Switzerland: an overview from the Swiss National Research Program (NRP) 66. 15.10.2013 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany Heeren Niko; Steubing Bernhard;
7th International Conference of the International Society of Industrial Ecology Talk given at a conference Combining LCA, MFA, and optimization to identify the optimal use of wood resources from cradle to grave 25.06.2013 Ulsan, Korean Republic (South Korea) Hellweg Stefanie; Mutel Christopher; Suter Florian; Steubing Bernhard;
SETAC Europe Annual Meeting Poster Integrating Human Indoor Air Pollutant Exposure in Life cycle Assessment of Wood Related Consumer Products 13.05.2013 Glasgow, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Chaudhary Abhishek;
Gordon Research Seminar/Conference on Industrial Ecology Poster Combining MFA and LCA to identify environmental strategies for a sustainable management of wood resources in Switzerland 16.06.2012 Les Diablerets, Switzerland Heeren Niko; Chaudhary Abhishek; De Schryver An; Hellweg Stefanie; Steubing Bernhard; Suter Florian; Wallbaum Holger; Mutel Christopher;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
60th LCA Discussion Forum: Ecological use of wood resources 04.12.2015 ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
LCA for NFP 66 Technology Developers 11.09.2012 Zurich, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Den Klimavorteil der Ressource Holz optimal nutzen Pro-Clim Flash Nr. 64 German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
172456 Towards A sustainable CircuLar Economy - Combining a material flow with a business and policy perspective (TACLE) 01.01.2018 NRP 73 Sustainable Economy
172435 Shrinking housing's environmental footprint (SHEF) 01.10.2017 NRP 73 Sustainable Economy

Abstract

The goal of this project is to identify environmental strategies for sustainable management of wood resources in Switzerland. In order to reach this goal, we will assess the current and future wood-based value chains by combining a dynamic (temporal) and spatial material flow analysis (MFA) and life cycle assessment (LCA). The combination of MFA and LCA in one single tool will enable a holistic overview of future resource uses and restrictions and at the same time enable to analyze the environmental impacts of the overall system, considering for carbon stocks and several effects such as climate change, human toxicity and biodiversity. The MFA-LCA tool will cover the whole wood-based value chain, including current and new technologies for production of chemicals from wood, pulp and paper, bioenergy, and building components. An advanced building model will be developed to calculate the effects of wood application on the running energy consumption and to quantify related emissions of different building types, taking into account several factors such as thermal mass. Furthermore, we will provide LCA and data collection support, an LCA decision-support tool with user-friendly interface and LCAs of new technologies developed in NFP66 to identify hotspots together with recommendations for technology improvements from an environmental point of view. The advantage of pooling the LCAs and hotspot analyses of new technologies developed in Modules 2-5 into module 6 is that it will assure consistency and equal quality of all data collected and LCAs performed in NFP66. Moreover, it is assured that LCA data of new technologies will be directly included in the MFA-LCA model. To estimate the future environmental impacts and enable a fair comparison to competitor products within the MFA-LCA model, for these new technologies we will derive scaling laws and environmental learning rates. In order to capture all major environmental impacts of wooden products, we aim at improving current life cycle impact assessment methodologies. Developments include regionalized and forest management-specific impact assessment models for biodiversity, soil quality loss, ecotoxicity assessment of wood treatments, and assessment of indoor human exposure from off-gassing and wood-burning. Finally, a range of scenarios will be assessed to help deduct strategies for a sustainable management of wood-based value chains from an environmental point of view, taking into account e.g., current policy development and cascading effects. To ensure project success and maximum value for NFP66, a strong collaboration with all NFP66 project partners is envisioned.
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