Benefits of wooden structure reuse: the case of an Austrian building

E Hoxha, B Soust-Verdaguer, M Scherz, A Passer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The building sector is responsible for 39% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; thus, it has a significant amount of potential to reduce the effects of climate change. Several active- and passive solutions and strategies have been developed and proposed in the literature. Among them, wood is highlighted as a promising solution to minimize GHG from buildings. However, the benefits, especially in the circular economy, are not fully evaluated due to methodological choices. Motivated by this knowledge gap, this article aims to evaluate the benefits of wood reuse compared to traditional building construction solutions. For this purpose, we have calculated the environmental impacts of a building situated in Graz, Austria. Four different scenarios are considered. The first scenario is a fully reinforced concrete building. The second scenario is a structural beam-column made from reinforced concrete with walls made of concrete blocks. The third scenario is a beam-column made from reinforced concrete with external walls based on clay blocks. Finally, the last scenario is a full wooden building. Following the standardized life cycle assessment (LCA) method, global warming potential (GWP) is calculated through a 0/0 approach. These evaluations were made possible by correlating the impacts released from producing wooden elements and the uptake of biogenic carbon from the forest. Without considering the possibility of material reuse, the wooden structure has a 5 % lower GWP value than the reinforced concrete building. Comparatively, the other building scenarios have almost similar impacts as the building in reinforced concrete. In the case of material reuse, the wooden structure building shows potential to develop projects with 44% lower environmental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012031
JournalIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventSustainable Built Environment D-A-CH Conference 2022 - Built environment within Planetary Boundaries: SBE22 berlin - Natural Building Lab constructive design and climate adaptive architecture TU Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 20 Sept 202223 Sept 2022


  • circular economy
  • life cycle assessment
  • material flow analysis
  • multi cycling
  • wooden construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems

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