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AHEC highlights ISO-conformant Life Cycle Assessment report on U.S. hardwood lumber at Intermob/ Istanbul 2012.

07 November 2012

AHEC highlights ISO-conformant Life Cycle Assessment report on U.S. hardwood lumber at Intermob/ Istanbul 2012.

Low carbon footprint positions American hardwoods among world’s most eco-friendly building materials. The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, has highlighted the environmental credentials of American hardwoods through the release of its ISO-conformant report on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of rough-sawn kiln-dried hardwood lumber at Intermob 2012. The announcement was made at the opening of the exhibition, which is being held from October 13-17 at the Tüyap Fair and Convention Center in Büyükçekmece, Istanbul. The report, which has been prepared by sustainability experts PE International after an intensive process of data collection, analysis, and review, is the first stage of AHEC's LCA project and is currently available on the AHEC website.
The report contains extensive data on the environmental profile of U.S. rough-sawn, kiln-dried hardwood lumber using a comprehensive set of environmental impacts, and covers the environmental life cycle of hardwood lumber from point of harvest in the U.S. through to delivery at the importers yard in major export markets. Further, it provides quantitative data on Global Warming Potential, Acidification Potential, Eutrophication Potential, Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential, and Ozone Depletion Potential. It also provides a qualitative assessment of toxicity, biodiversity, land use and land use change, and water resource impacts. In addition, the report includes a sensitivity analysis to show how environmental impacts vary according to key factors such as species, lumber thickness, and transport distance and mode.
A key requirement for compliance to ISO standards for LCA is that all data is critically reviewed by an external panel of independent LCA experts. According to the final statement of the Panel reviewing the report: “the study has been carried out in compliance with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. The critical review panel found the overall quality of the methodology and its execution to be excellent for the purposes of the study. The study is reported in a comprehensive manner and includes appropriate and transparent documentation of its limitations in scope."
The report is an essential requirement for use of AHEC's LCA data in science-based assessments of the sustainability of U.S. hardwood lumber compared to other wood and non-wood materials. It demonstrates the credibility and reliability of the LCA data that AHEC will be making available to manufacturers, designers and retailers through formal Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and AHEC’s own online species guides and environmental profiles. It also underpins the ongoing collaborative work by AHEC and PE International to develop innovative computer-based systems for modeling environmental impacts of wood material choices in product design.
The critical review panel also praised the broad product coverage of the report and quality of the data stating: "One of the outstanding features of the study is the broad coverage of American hardwood species. The 19 different species addressed represent more than 95 percent of the hardwood species harvested in the U.S. by volume and more than 95 percent of the wood volume exported by AHEC members. Another positive feature of the study is the substantial share of primary data collected to reach representative results for American hardwood lumber. Primary data were collected from 46 AHEC companies, representing approximately 20 percent of AHEC members and approximately 12 percent of the hardwood lumber production volume. Due to the substantial share and relevance of the primary data, the data quality is considered to be high."
As in previous years, AHEC, together with the Hardwood States Export Group (HSEG), is hosting an American Hardwood Pavilion comprising individual booths for U.S. hardwood exporting companies in addition to a lumber grading demonstration and technical information area. The American Hardwood Pavilion covers 210 square meters of space with booths for twelve individual U.S. hardwood producing and exporting companies including Baillie Lumber, Graf Brothers Lumber & Flooring, Kretz Lumber, Nina Company, Bridgewell Resources, Missouri Walnut, Wheeland Lumber, Northland Corporation, Robinson Lumber & Flooring, Northwest Hardwoods, Hanafee Lumber and IKE Trading. In addition, AHEC staff and consultants are on hand throughout the show to answer technical questions on American hardwood species, applications, lumber grading and environmental credentials.
For more information contact Mrs Belinda Cobden-Ramsay:

AHEC: American Hardwood Export Council
3, St. Micheal's Alleye
LONDON EC3V 9DS (United Kingdom)
Tel +44 207 6264111
Fax +44 207 6264222
E-mail: belinda@