Sustainability of Insulation - Knauf Insulation

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About Knauf Group

The Knauf group was established in Germany in 1932 and today remains one of the world's leading building materials producers with over 100 manufacturing locations. Knauf insulation has over 30 manufacturing sites worldwide producing glass and rock mineral wool, extruded polystyrene and extruded polyethylene insulation. In the UK the 4 manufacturing plants can be found at Saint Helens and Cwmbran where they produce glass mineral wool, Hartlepool where they produce polyfoam extruded polystyrene and extruded polyethylene, and Queensferry where rock silk rock mineral wool is produced. These 4 plants ensure that Knauf insolation remains today the UKs principle insulation producer. At Knauf insulation we recognise that possessing a thorough knowledge of insulation products is essential to enable us to reduce energy consumption.

 

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Our technical advisory centre TAC continues to provide personal high level Technical Support including U value calculations, condensation analysis and assistance with CAD drawings and NBS clauses. Support is also available on our website and includes the Knauf insulation calculation centre. Kick featuring our free BRE approved SAP 2005 Calculator and a model design Calculator to enable easy initial scoping calculations. There's also a selection of sector guides product data sheets COSHH data and the new industry leading Knauf insulation solutions for buildings.

 

Learning Aims - The Sustainability of Insulation.

This presentation aims to educate on the sustainability related issues that are relevant to insulation. The Bruntland definition is still the most popular definition used to describe sustainability. While the principle of the Bruntland definition is sound a more practical approach as is described in the British standard on sustainable development, where it states that sustainable development is an enduring balanced approach to economic activity environmental responsibility and social progress. This balancing of the three principles of economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability, is often referred to as the triple bottom line, consisting of people planet and profits.

 

A companies approach to sustainability can be upheld by effective protection of the environment, responsible use of natural resources, social progress which recognises the need of all stakeholders, maintenance of high and stable levels of prosperity and employment. This model an extension of the triple bottom line reflects that protection of the environment and a responsible use of resources are interdependent issues and seen as important enough to be considered separately.

 

Legislative Framework

The built environment and building industry is subject to an increasing legislative framework which is reinforced by a number of assessment schemes at building company and product level. The moral case for regulation is easily made when one views the environmental impact and use of natural resources by buildings in construction and operation.

 

Climate Change

It is now widely acknowledged that our environment is under threat from climate change brought about by man-made releases of global warming gases, mainly carbon dioxide. The biggest contributor to man-made carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal often to provide energy. The intergovernmental panel on climate change has predicted that adverse human welfare consequences are likely to increase significantly, if global temperature rises more than 2°C centigrade relative to preindustrial temperatures, and that if a 4°C rise was reached extreme consequences potentially beyond their ability to adapt would arise.

 

CO2 and Temperature - Global warming

Historical data collected from Antarctic ice formed over the last 400,000 years proves that these CO2 content and temperature of the atmosphere are closely linked when one has arisen the other has followed. CO2 is expected to rise dramatically as the developing world increases consumption to match the developed world. This graphic shows a prediction of how temperature is expected to increase due to CO2. A 4°C rise would be realistic and is viewed by some as conservative. By insulating our buildings we directly reduce the amount of warm air escaping into the atmosphere but most importantly we reduce the amount of energy needed for heating. Reducing the quantity of fossil fuels which must be burnt and therefore the CO2 released.

 

Responsible Usage of non-renewable resources

This graph shows the current and predicted usage of oil as estimated by proven reserves and expected fines. Gas is expected to follow a similar pattern. The pattern is clearly unsustainable and does not represent a responsible use of our reserves. Products which are made from oil or using oil should be used sparingly and alternatives should be sought wherever possible. The financial future of products which use oil is not a promising one. The cost of oil is expected to rise out of all proportion with other prices.

 

Reliance on Oil and Gas.

The UK no longer produces enough oil or gas for its own uses, the locations of the world reserves are often found in countries which are distant to the UK and not our traditional trading partners. The economic results of demand outstripping supply will be devastating for countries who have not weaned themselves off reliance on oil and gas.

 

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is sometimes described as a renewable resource while it produces large amounts of energy with little emission of greenhouse gas. The failing of nuclear power as a replacement for fossil fuels is that it produces radioactive waste, which remains dangerous for thousands of years. There is not yet an accepted method of disposal or storage of nuclear waste, burying underground is currently normal practice but there is no recognised solution to the problems of decaying containers and the potential for ground movements.

 

Code For Sustainable Homes and BREEAM

Assessment schemes such as the Code For Sustainable Homes and BREEAM are increasingly encouraging designers and specifiers to rethink their approach to buildings. The government has committed to an ambitious target of Zero carbon homes by 2016, which will rely on far more thermally efficient and airtight buildings than is currently required under the building regulations. Energy performance certificates and the dramatic price rises in domestic energy and making the public more aware of the efficiency of their home. Renewable energy production is now more efficient and accessible to the building owner particularly with the sale of micro renewables in DIY stores. Public funding is becoming increasingly reliant unsustainability related standards such as achieving BREEAM very good for public buildings.

 

Sustainable Buildings

A new set of regulations on sustainability at product company building at national level are originating from Europe under the sustainable consumption and production and sustainable industrial policy plans. Designers and clients are increasingly realising that sustainable buildings are also good business choices, as they cost less in the longer term and provide many benefits including, increased occupant satisfaction and usability.

 

Renewable energy

Renewable energy undoubtedly provides us with a great opportunity to replace our reliance on fossil fuels but there also concerns with all of the alternatives proposed. The main problems are practical and financial but are certainly not insurmountable. The problems can be made more manageable by reducing the amount of energy required as shown in the graphic. The UK renewable energy Association recognised that energy efficiency should be the first step in an integrated approach to low carbon energy. Most will have heard of the waste hierarchy there is also an energy hierarchy.

 

Greener Homes Price Guide

A report by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors the greener homes price guide has concluded that energy saving through insulation is the most cost effective means of producing low carbon homes. Insulation is given a five star rating while wind turbines and photovoltaic sawn buildings are given three stars the Mckinsey Institute has gone further this is a simplification of their cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction. Building insulation is seen as the most cost positive form of CO2 abatement available to society as a whole.

 

This diagram represents the heat losses from a building so, insulating a roof with 200mm of glass mineral wool can save as much as 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.

 

Insulating a wall with 100mm of glass mineral wool insulation can save as much as 3.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.

 

Insulating a floor with 85mm of extruded polystyrene can save as much as 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per year.

 

Some facts.

  • The pay back to the house owner insulating their loft with glass mineral wool is approximately 2 years. In terms of the payback of energy used in manufacture, it is just a few weeks.
  • Glass mineral wool has advantages over plastic foam insulants in terms of lifetime CO2 pay back.
  • Plastic foam insulants CO2 payback periods and largely proportional to the global warming potential (GWP) of the blowing gas used.
  • Even if CO2 with the GWP of 1 or Pentane with a GWP of up to 11 is used, mineral wool retains the upper hand with a GWP of Zero.

 

Green Guide to Specification

The green guide to specification published by the building research establishment estimates environmental impacts from the production of materials on a cradle to gate basis. This means that all environmental impacts are taken into account from raw material extraction to the product leaving the factory gate, but not beyond. The green guide does not comment on the performance and design of a system, but the embodied impacts caused by the production of a product or system.

 

BRE have assessed material in typical building elements

The BRE have assessed material in typical building elements commonly used by each different construction sector, for insulation all values are expressed per metre squared of insulation at a density and thickness required to achieve an R value of 3 to ensure all units are comparable.

 

The generic ratings used currently are from averaged data sets provided by several manufacturers of each product type. Certified environmental profiles as specific to individual products. Future versions of the green guide will increasingly concentrate on individual products to allow customers to make better comparisons between products and will encourage the use of eco points, as a more accurate alternative to the banded scores given in the generic ratings.

 

The Green Guide will in future be based largely online to allow companies to update their profiles as they make improvements to their processes and products. Here is a selection of Green Guide summary scores which may be surprising for some. Many of the natural insulants such as sheep’s wool, straw bales and Cork actually achieve worse scores than the more traditional types of insulation such as mineral wool.

 

Plastic foam incidents generally score worse although this is largely dependent on the blowing agent used in their manufacture. Some commonly used insulants have not submitted data for assessment there are concerned that this may be due to an awareness but there is a significant environmental impact present. Sustainability relies on transparency in relation to all impacts and customers should encourage companies to submit data for assessment and support their efforts to improve scores.

 

The Green Guide Ratings

The green guide ratings are calculated across a series of categories which are weighted according to the importance of the impact issue, for example climate change as the most pressing problem of our time gets nearly a 22% weighting.

 

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the summary scores, as you can see all of the products use some chemicals which score poorly in the ecotoxicity to land section, which reflects the fact that even the natural materials need to use chemicals to improve their fire retardancy and other characteristics.

 

Some mineral wool manufacturers are now investing heavily in removing these chemicals from their process even though they do not pose a threat to human or natural environments. All of the four insulant manufacturing process is involved the use of energy and manufacture and extraction of some materials, so all score a B in climate change.

 

BRE Green Guide Rating Methodology

The BRE green guide rating methodology is not fully published but it's still easy to illustrate what may contribute to the green guide ratings to allow a deeper understanding of the complexities of life cycle analysis. For the purposes of greater understanding we will increase the scope from cradle to gate to also discuss subsequent issues in the material life cycle. This is known as cradle to grave and allows a better understanding of the various materials' impacts.

 

Glass mineral wool scores A+ in 11 of 13 categories even though, they are mainly abundant minerals, Virgin materials are used in the process. Raw material extraction and use of some chemicals may give the ecotoxicity to land E rating as with all of the other insulants. The effects of this category can be varied according to the type of pollution. Then like other insulants the energy use in manufacturing and extraction processes is responsible for the B rating of climate change aside from that A+ ratings reflect the fact that the other impacts are very low, compared to other insulants largely due to the use of recycled materials and efficient manufacturing processes.

 

Following on from the cradle to gate BRE rating, glass mineral wool is highly compressible to reduce transport impacts, has very low waste characteristics compared to rigid board and will become increasingly recyclable into more glass mineral wool or other materials at the end of life. Glass mineral wool should not end up in landfill and most manufacturers are addressing the need to provide recycling routes for the future. This life cycle would be typical to most rigid foam insulation boards.

 

Polyurethane board scores A+ for 6 of 13 categories. As with other insulants it scores E&B for ecotoxicity to land and climate change, as it is highly reliant on energy use in the various life cycle stages and the use of chemicals even though the final manufacturing process is not highly energy intensive.

 

In many cases the use of pentane family gases is blowing agents with GWP believed to range from 3 to 11 may contribute to the climate change rating but may also be partly responsible for the D rating in photochemical ozone creation.

 

Pentanes belong to the groups known as volatile organic compounds VOCs and hydrocarbons which react with other chemicals in the atmosphere and a reaction driven by the sun to produce ground level ozone or smog, thought to cause respiratory problems and damage vegetation.

 

The acidification B rating is probably caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and ammonia to the atmosphere from the series of industrial processes before manufacture.

 

Plastic foam insulation does not usually contain any recycled materials except maybe for facings as it originates almost 100% from oil. Oil is processed first before being sent for polymerization and then transported for manufacture into insulation. This use of oil may account for the slightly higher ozone depletion score as the oil industry is one of the few still allowed to use cfcs.

 

The use of oil and high levels of manufacture they also account for the water extraction B score as water is used for cooling in industrial processes. Later in the life cycle as a rigid board just like plasterboard it requires cutting and therefore suffers from relatively high wastage and damage rates.

 

Although polyurethane board can be recyclable, it is a thermosetting plastic that is, it cannot be melted back down like polystyrene and other thermoplastics. This means it should not be put into mixed plastic skips on building sites and usually ends up in landfill. Materials with high organic content are expected to be restricted from landfill in the future. Manufacturers will need to work with customers contractors and waste management companies to provide other options for polyurethane (PUR), polyisocyanurate (PIR) and phenolic insulation otherwise demolishing buildings containing polyurethane and also phenolic insulation may present an expensive problem for the owner.

 

Sheep’s wool scores A + in 8 of 13 categories. Most of sheep's wool impact categories which score worse than A + or probably due to the high degree of processing before the manufacture of the actual insulation. This would include the high content of used or Virgin polyester which has to be processed and a small amount of chemical processing used to give the wool some level of fire retardants.

 

As with the other insulants energy use and some chemical use affect the climate change and ecotoxicity to land ratings. The E rating in water extraction is probably due to the use of steam to clean the wool before it is sent to the final manufacturing process. The C racing in eutrophication which is the introduction of excess nutrients into the ecosystem is usually attributed to agriculture.

 

As with polyurethane the reprocessing of polyester may be largely responsible for emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides to the atmosphere, which gives a poor acidification score. Waste from the building process or demolition of buildings is theoretically recyclable but it is thought to end up in landfill as no recycling facilities currently exist.

 

The Code For Sustainable Homes aims to be a holistic measurement of the sustainability of domestic buildings. The code for sustainable homes process incorporates numerous sustainability issue credits in nine main category areas. Each category score is multiplied by a weighting which reflects the importance of that category to give a final percentage score.

 

Energy is seen as the most important category. There are some mandatory minimum standards in the energy, waste, materials, water and surface run off categories. Insulation will be the most important factor in determining reductions in target emission rates as shown in this table as we progress towards building Zero carbon homes. The code awards accredited for use of insulants with a global warming potential of less than five in the elements listed here. Global warming potential represents the gas's ability to trap heat in the atmosphere compared to CO2. To simplify a given amount of gas with GWP of three contributes three times more to climate change turn an equal amount of CO2.

 

Commonly Used Insulants and Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Here are some commonly used insulants and the GWPs of the gases. Air has a GWP of zero and CO2 is 1.

 

Pentanes GWP is the subject of debate but estimates vary between 3 and 11.

 

HFC is always greater than 5 although there are many variants. Some new alternatives are becoming available which may have a GWP value of less than 5.

 

BREEAM credit scores

BREEAM is very similar in structure to the code for sustainable homes with issues credits, credit categories, weightings and a final percentage score. BREEAM issues have individual minimum credit scores which relate to the final building ratings. The most important individual issue is energy 1 with 15 available credits. To achieve an outstanding building raising at least 10 credits must be scored. Once again insulation is the first consideration and most cost effective option in achieving a high issue score.

 

The Green Guide Rating Score

The insulation index Calculator multiplies the green guide rating score by the volume of insulation, divided by thermal performance of insulation. The credit is awarded for a Calculator output score of greater than 2. The table above shows the point scores that are given for the various green guide ratings, the higher the score the greater likelihood to achieve the point. Glass mineral wool is not only the least expensive form of insulation but also offers the best chance of gaining the credit. Using A + rated insulants wherever possible allows the use of a proportion of insulants with worse green guide ratings for specialist applications such as flooring with high levels of traffic or a high likelihood of wetting.

 

The second credit requires that 80% by volume of insulation in external walls, ground floor, roof and building services should be responsibly sourced. At present responsible sourcing is judged by the process and main elements of the supply chain being ISO 14001 accredited. The higher levels of recycled content in mineral wool allow many of the credits to be awarded by default.

 

Furthermore, established industries such as mineral warden plastic foam are almost without exception ISO 14001 accredited. While many of the new natural technologies are not yet accredited. Unfortunately they use may lose the customer BREEAM credits. The BRE described invest as a software tool that simplifies the otherwise complex process of designing buildings with low environmental impact and whole life costs. Invest 2 allows both environmental and financial trade-offs to be made explicit in the design process. Allowing the client to optimize the concept of best value according to their own priorities. Invest can provide a single environmental impact or eco point score for building and the ability to substitute elements to compare the whole life costing and environmental impact will aid decisions for both designers and their clients and there are simple inputs and outputs. Often good environmental options cost more money initially then more environmentally damaging options but then cost less over the lifetime of the building.

 

Glass mineral wool insulation is an anomaly as it is the traditional option as well as the cheapest way to achieve insulation targets, but it continues to save money over the lifetime of the building. Glass mineral wool is also able to give the best eco point scores for the initial investment and then continue to save money over the life of the building. It will give customers better invest scores and save money to provide funds for other environmental technologies, which may cost more at the beginning. Using products with high recycled content is known as closing the loop as it completes a continuous product cycle.

 

Mineral Wool

Most mineral wool is potentially recyclable into more mineral wool or other products and most mineral wool manufacturers are working to overcome the practical difficulties of recycling from construction sites. Market leading insulation manufacturers should be able to display that their packaging is recyclable or reusable. Packaging should only be taken back if a clear environmental benefit can be proven as transporting lightweight pallets back to manufacturers over long distances may be popular with contractors, but it is often a far more damaging than local reuse or recycling.

 

Manufacturing Good Practice

Established manufacturing good practice involves diverting the majority of waste from landfill. Investment into research and development should be producing ever more efficient processes. Mineral wool and some polystyrene factories recycle most of their waste product and have reduced waste to landfill by over 80%.

 

Waste reduction target should be a factory focus and staff should be rewarded for meeting targets. This approach aligns to the economic and social aspects of sustainability. Some now have an aspiration to send zero waste to landfill and have signed up to the WRAP commitment of having waste to landfill giving them the right to use this logo.

 

WRAP have also designed a net waste tool to encourage designers to identify publish and ultimately increase the recycled content of buildings. As well as saving the rapidly disappearing landfill resource is in the UK using high recycled content in products decreases the use of finite resources such as oil. Mineral wool recycled contents can be up to 80%. Plastic foam insulants made from Thermo plastics such as polystyrene can be up to 20% recycled content, but he usually zero. Thermosetting plastics such as polyurethane and phenolic insulation do not usually contain recycled content.

 

Inherent waste by product type is relevant to the question of take back waste product from site. Some products such as glass mineral wool roll produce zero waste when properly used. Other more rigid insulants will always require cutting and will produce wastage.

 

Even mineral wool can always be used elsewhere if site operations are planned properly. Where a low impact product is used, and wastage quantities are very low the environmental benefits of take back may not exist if the factory is not in close proximity local recycling options would be preferable.

 

Studies are currently underway which will reflect these differences in published wastage rate data as it is currently generic to all insulation. WRAP and other organisations are starting to look at tools to calculate benefits of take back of packaging and product from site, compared to local recycling, to allow the customer to decide whether there is actually an environmental benefit to take back when taking transport emissions into account. Typical examples of efficient insulation manufacturing processes have reduced their energy usage and associated environmental impacts by over 50% due to high levels of investment in energy efficiency.

 

Carbon Footprint

Some mineral wool manufacturers could now meter energy usage by individual machine operator and shift with an aim of further driving down energy usage. Internal targets and incentives can be the key tools in saving energy.

 

Increasingly manufacturers are educating their staff on the carbon footprint and life cycle impacts of their work tasks. Efforts continue in the insulation business to reduce the quantity and weight of the packaging used and therefore the associated environmental impact. The most notable packaging development contributing to this is packaging film thickness reduction, usually accompanied by other film changes to help offset any associated reductions in essential film properties such as strength.

 

Firms should trial different methods which minimise the amount of packaging needed particularly the number of layers. There is always a trade off with the protection offered to the product on site and the amount of handling effort required. A typical manufacturer would be running monthly trials across a number of areas and aiming to reduce environmental impact by 10% per year.

 

Packaging with recycled content currently requires the addition of a significant quantity of Virgin polymer to the extent that the environmental impact actually increases but time may change that. Pallet less solutions that are practical and cost effective are a Holy Grail for packaging engineers and much research is currently ongoing. All of these efforts help to significantly reduce the quantity of raw materials used by packaging suppliers.

 

The corresponding reduction in the weight of such packaging when used on products means an associated reduction in the contribution that product packaging eventually makes to the construction site waste streams, and reduced transport emissions both to and from site.

 

Compression packaging typical in glass mineral wool products allows more insulation to be fitted into lorries reducing transport impacts and congestion on roads. Glass mineral wool products can be compressed by up to one eighth of their installed size to optimize transport efficiency and reduce pollution. There has been an historical lack of credibility in offsetting as highlighted in various books and newspapers for many reasons, including that it is seen as sending the wrong message and as an excuse to avoid regulation. Reduction of carbon emissions must always be the first option but sometimes processes cannot happen without some emissions. Where emissions cannot be avoided offsetting is acceptable it could be seen as a fourth tier level on the energy hierarchy.

 

Offsets should be real and quantifiable should not be undone at a later date and should be verifiable by an external company or body. The main determinant in offsetting credibility is that the parameters of the scheme should be transparent and reported which means being administered by an external independent agent. There are various voluntary standards, but the most credible form of offset is a United Nations registered certified emission reduction. Carbon zero alternatives now exist in the mineral wool market which are reputable, and the uptake is likely to spread. Carbon zero insulation gives designers and their clients a clear conscience and allows them to maximise the contribution of their building to combating climate change.

 

The BRE Responsible Sourcing Standard

The BRE responsible sourcing standard aims to allow companies to prove responsible sourcing using sustainability indicators, covering issues such as supply chain engagement and management performance, interaction with local communities, approach to biodiversity use of life cycle analysis, approach to global warming emissions and water use.

 

The standard sets out requirements under three main headings; one organizational management; two supply chain management; three environmental and social requirements. Compliance points are generally awarded on three ascending levels according to policy then objectives and targets and then internal and external reporting. Higher levels of performance will be certified and recognised under the standard at pass, good, very good and excellent.

 

The standard will contribute to credits assessed under BREEAM and also potentially the code for sustainable homes. The British standards Institute is producing a responsible sourcing standard which may be similar and would be assessed to the same time as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 18001. Companies which are accredited to ISO 14001 who have already begun addressing the principles of sustainability in policy and planning will be best placed to deliver on the responsible sourcing document.

 

Natural technologies currently offer little advantage over traditional forms of insulation in terms of environmental impact and are prohibitively expensive. Due to the net lifetime environmental benefits of insulation it is better to use more of a cheaper insulation and less of a more expensive product regardless of the embodied impact. They are however young technologies which may benefit from economies of scale and increased research into more efficient processes.

 

Multi foil installations have claimed amazing thermal resistance is compared to thickness but when tested to the industry standards, their performance is around 30% of the claim. Controversially they have developed their own tests which claimed to represent performance in situ, however the testing methods have been called into question by many in the insulation industry, who feel they do not fairly represent the actual performance of more traditional products.

 

Aerogels and vacuum insulated panels are still at a very early stage of development but may offer an alternative material for the future. Lower impact variants of existing traditional insulants already providing very low environmental impact currently offer the most realistic practical advances in insulation technology.

 

The 1st of July 2007 EC regulations for the registration evaluation authorisation and restriction of chemical substances known as REACH which applies a hazardous chemicals even where they appear in low and safe concentrations have inspired a mineral wool which does not contain fennel formaldehyde life cycle analysis El CA has proven that this has a far lower impact, the binder has around 50% of the environmental impacts across most EL CA categories.

 

The forthcoming environmental technologies verification scheme is European legislation which may recognise and should encourage such advances in low impact technologies. The European regulations concerning environmental product declarations and other instruments being discussed but likely to require far greater disclosure of information on the contents and impact of products which may force even the most reluctant manufacturers to submit to ELCA and other assessment of their product.

 

Lastly, it is crucial that insulation is used in the correct applications if buildings are to meet theoretical performance levels in practice. Our ability to meet zero carbon aspirations relies on designers making informed decisions. Insulation companies will be forced to engage in increased levels of research to prove their theoretical claims in the future. There is also a danger that where companies have limited product ranges, they sell products that do not perform optimally in situ and failed to give their customers the performance they desire. It is important that customers can get the most cost effective product which meets their needs.

 

This simple table shows that a product range including glass wool, stone wool and extruded polystyrene can give the highest product performance within existing building systems across a range of needs. Guides have been published by some manufacturers aimed to help customers make the decision which best fit their needs. This example of a building insulation solutions manual is split into residential and non-residential, for both new build and refurbishment. It shows multiple types of insulation NBS specifications and gives guidance to the building regulations. When specifying insulation the most important consideration must be first to design a system which achieves the theoretical and potential environmental impact reductions through building energy performance.

 

Where several products can meet a specific need equally it's always best to select the product with the lowest environmental impact according to proper environmental life cycle analysis, such as that found in the green guide to specification. If there is a limited or fixed budget the best environmental option may simply be to choose the cheapest appropriate product to provide the largest amount of insulating value, as this will give the greatest overall environmental benefit during the lifetime of the building.

 

Glass Wool

Glass wool will normally provide the cheapest option with the highest environmental credentials and a product fire rating of A1. Rock mineral wool provides the next best cost and environmental impact option where sustained resistance to very high temperatures is required beyond the scope of an A1 product fire rating. Glass and rock mineral wool may not provide a solution where very high compressibility or total resistance to moisture is required.

 

Extruded Polystyrene XPS

The best performing insulation for both of these applications is extruded polystyrene XPS. Even though XPS is a higher impact product it will still mitigate many times more environmental impact in use than it creates in manufacture. Current sustainability focus is largely on environmental issues. The wider issue of sustainability is beginning to be addressed at local, industry, European and national levels and will increasingly shape statues and decision making for both public and private spending. Working towards sustainable outcomes requires holistic and long term thinking. Companies will benefit greatly from addressing these issues proactively.

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