Carbon Footprint of Alternative Wood Product Retirement Strategies

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

2020 ASEE St. Lawrence Section Annual Conference Proceedings


In proceedings of the 2020 ASEE St Lawrence Section Annual Conference.

Like many undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, the Master of Engineering (MEng) program in Sustainable Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) concludes when students have completed a capstone project. As currently implemented capstone projects can be individual or group projects. Students engaged in capstone typically investigate specific problems for both on and off-campus clients. Projects are overseen by a faculty member and project deliverables typically include a formal project writeup as well as a summary presentation to the faculty supervisor and the clients. This article describes the findings of a two semester capstone project that was commissioned to investigate the environmental consequences that arise from several alternative wood product end of life retirement strategies. Results suggest that for wood products and other similar items (those fabricated from high carbon content, biodegradable materials) recycling and combustion strategies at end of life may ultimately generate more greenhouse gas emissions than a landfill strategy.

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