Continuing Education

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Western Red Cedar: Measuring Environmental Impact Through Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Forest Certifications

Approximately 1 hour

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic upswing in the number of companies that want to build reputations as good corporate citizens. Natural, organic, and sustainable are all highly desirable characteristics in the world of building supply products. According to a 2020 study by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Touche, it’s the company’s responsibility to provide "greener, cleaner, and more responsibly produced" products to remain relevant to their growing green customer base. But with the plethora of environmental claims by companies seeking to advance their products, “green,” “eco-friendly,” “sustainable,” and the like are terms that have become confusing at best and meaningless at worst. In order to keep from drowning in greenwash, the market has demanded greater transparency and verifiable evidence of sustainable performance all along the supply chain. This course discusses how architects can be reasonably assured that products, particularly western red cedar wood products, are maximally sustainable. Life cycle analysis (LCA) and forest certification are discussed in terms of their place on an architect’s sustainability agenda, and an LCA of western red cedar is presented to demonstrate the level of research involved, along with results that can be expected from the life cycle approach.

Presented by Erik Ostensen on behalf of Western Forest Products.

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