Carbon and timber in construction for building designers

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This Wood Information Sheet covers the following topics in relation to timber in buildings: carbon emissions, carbon stores and the complex relationship between timber in the built environment and the forests it was sourced from. It also provides methods to minimise carbon use and to maximise the carbon store, and explains procedures for calculating the embodied carbon in a building according to a life cycle assessment (LCA).


Timber is largely made from carbon: its use in construction results in both carbon storage and carbon emissions. Understanding how to manage carbon emissions and calculate embodied carbon helps to maximise the environmental benefits of building with timber.



  • Carbon and timber
  • Carbon emissions from buildings
  • Calculating whole-life carbon for a building
  • Minimising built environment carbon emissions
  • Carbon stores
  • The carbon impact of timber in construction
  • Whole-life carbon emissions and global temperature increases
  • Transport emissions (LCA module A4)
  • End-of-life emissions (LCA modules C1–C4)


For queries about this technical document, please get in touch with BM TRADA’s Technical Helpline on +44 (0)1494 569601 or


A paper/digital copy of this Wood Information Sheet is available in the BM TRADA Bookshop, which also hosts additional specialist timber publications.

Suggested Reading

Eliminating illegal timbernavigation-arrow

TRADA Technology's University Liaison Manager Elizabeth Turner discusses the impact EU Timber Regulation will have on timber specification and supply.

Article from the TRADA Timber Industry Yearbook 2012

01/01/2012 |  Magazine Article  

Field of dreams: 'If you build it they will come'navigation-arrow

Paul Newman explores a new vision for housebuilding in the UK and the opportunities for timber offered by the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Bill.

Article from the TRADA Timber Industry Yearbook 2015

01/01/2015 |  Magazine Article  

Improving the home-grown timber supply chainnavigation-arrow

I am sure that I am not the only person who has visited the TRADA head office in the heart of the Chilterns' beech woods and thought: "If only I had a similar view from my office window".

Those beautiful beech woods remind me of the common purpose shared by...

01/01/2016 |  Magazine Article