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Comparing sustainability impacts of different constructions materials: BenchValue

Renewable wood-based materials can help to reduce GHG emissions in the construction sector and thus support the bioeconomy. However, their use has not reached the full potential as there is currently only limited availability of comprehensive sustainability assessments and no benchmarking against non-renewable material use. To fill this information gap, a newly established project co-ordinated by the European Forest Institute (EFI) will be developing a sustainability assessment method which allows comparison and benchmarking between different renewable, mineral and non-renewable materials used in house construction.

BenchValue aims to expand an EFI developed Tool for Sustainability Impact Assessment (ToSIA) with a versatile method for benchmarking wood material value chains against mineral and non-renewable value chains to allow comparison with renewable materials. This will help to quantify sustainability impacts and climate change mitigation potential of substituting non-renewable with renewable materials. The project will develop a common method for comparing economic, environmental and social impact values for different material value chains for informed decision making in construction.

The project has a major focus on stakeholder interaction and capacity building. The developed method will be tested in the case studies in Ireland, Lithuania, France, and Austria in close stakeholder interaction. Moreover, BenchValue will allow for regular international stakeholder exchange to offer international knowledge and experience exchange to stakeholders and decision makers.

BenchValue – Benchmarking the sustainability performances of value chains – held its kick off meeting in Joensuu, Finland on 25–26 January 2017. The project is funded by ERA-NET SUMFOREST. The project partners are EFI; University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria; French Institute of Technology for forest based and furniture sectors; University of Limerick; National University of Ireland; Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry; Aleksandras Stulginskis University, Lithuania; Swedish Environmental Research Institute and University of Limoges, France.

More info: Project co-ordinator Dr. Diana Tuomasjukka (

BenchValue is funded by ERA-NET SUMFOREST which receives funding from the European Union under Grant Agreement no 606803.