Assessing the global warming potential of wooden products from the furniture sector to improve their ecodesign.Sci Total Environ. 2011 Dec 01; 410-411:16-25.ST
The main objective of this study was to determine the global warming potential of several wood products as an environmental criterion for their ecodesign. Two methodologies were combined: the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions (equivalent CO(2)) of several representative wood based products from the furniture sector and the integration of environmental aspects into product design. The products under assessment were classified in two groups: indoor products and outdoor products, depending on their location. "Indoor products" included a convertible cot/bed, a kitchen cabinet, an office table, a living room furniture, a headboard, youth room accessories and a wine crate, while the "Outdoor products" analysed were a ventilated wooden wall and a wooden playground. Spanish wood processing companies located in Galicia (NW Spain) and Catalonia (NE Spain) were analysed in detail. The life cycle of each product was carried out from a cradle-to-gate perspective according to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, using global warming potential as the selected impact category. According to the results, metals, boards and energy use appeared to be the most contributing elements to the environmental impact of the different products under assessment, with total contributions ranging from 40% to 90%. Furthermore, eco-design strategies were proposed by means of the methodology known as Design for the Environment (DfE). Improvement strategies viable for implementation in the short term were considered and analysed in detail, accounting for remarkable reductions in the equivalent CO(2) emissions (up to 60%). These strategies would be focused on the use of renewable energies such as photovoltaic cells, the promotion of national fibres or changes in the materials used. Other alternatives to be implemented in the long term can be of potential interest for future developments.