1 FROM MATERIALS TO ECO-MATERIALS: LIFE-CYCLE ENVIRONMENTAL APPROACH FOR INSULATION PRODUCTS IN BUILDING APPLICATIONS B. DeBenedetti 1, L. Maffia 1, S. Rssi 2 1 Dipartiment di Scienza dei Materiali ed Ingegneria Chimica, Plitecnic di Trin and CESISP, Italy, 2 Life Cycle Engineering (LCE), Trin, Italy, Abstract In recent years, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been ften used t supprt management and marketing strategies in the building sectr, with particular regard t the chice amng alternative slutins fr specific applicatins, such as insulatin, rfing, etc. The wrk presents the ec-apprach that has been fllwed in cperatin with tw Italian manufacturers Assciatins belnging t the building prducts with insulating functins sectr (AIPE Expanded Plystyrene EPS and ANPE Rigid Plyurethane PUR). The develped prjects had the bjective f adpting either the LCA r the materials selectin methdlgies fr the evaluatin f the envirnmental and technical perfrmances f tw classes f prducts f cmmn use in Italy. The gal is cnstituted by the benchmarking f their envirnmental burden cmpared with ther insulating prduct categries. The mst lifecycle envirnmentally friendly materials can be then defined as ec-material. Keywrds: LCA, insulatin prducts, ec-materials, Cambridge Engineering Selectr (CES), Envirnmental Prduct Declaratin (EPD ) 1. Intrductin The envirnmental cnsciusness in the building sectr is rising at Eurpean level , prbably pushed by the need f energy saving targets, but a reductin f ther impacts t the envirnment is als seen as a relevant issue bth by private and public rganisatins. The pssibility t use LCA and materials selectin techniques ffers the pprtunity t intrduce a satisfactry apprach t ec-materials. In this wrk, the significant rle achieved by the insulating materials selectin in green prcurements practices is highlighted. With the cntributin f a cuple f natinal Assciatins f insulating prducts manufacturers, sme case studies are presented. Furthermre, the results are here discussed t intrduce the issue f benchmarking using the life-cycle envirnmental burden as main discriminatr (by means f specific parameters such as the Glbal Warming Ptential ) and the Cambridge Engineering Selectr (CES)  as functinal interface. The Envirnmental Prduct Declaratin (EPD ) scheme is then intrduced as a valid supprt and vehicle fr the envirnmental cmmunicatin (ISO applicatin), with particular attentin t the strategic imprtance f the Prduct Categry Rules (PCR) dcument setting. 2. Life Cycle Assessment apprach Life Cycle Assessment is widely recgnized as a scientific tl t measure the glbal envirnmental perfrmance f prducts and prcesses . Guidelines are prvided by the recently updated EN ISO 14040:2006 and 14044:2006 Standards. Final results f the study are cmpsed by a set f parameters describing the ec-perfrmance f the cnsidered system, such as:
2 the grss energy cnsumptin; the feedstck energy stred in the materials; the energy surces used; the greenhuse gas emissins; the amunt f zne depleting gases emissin and ther parameters. Generally used t supply management strategies (with particular attentin t the chice between alternative prcesses/prducts), LCA has als becme ne f the main internatinally recgnised methds t set up criteria fr envirnmental labels  as the Eurpean EcLabel (e.g. hard flr cverings) and the Envirnmental Prduct Declaratin (EPD ). Amng several LCA experiences develped in the building sectr, the thermal insulatin case is particularly interesting due t the recent attentin t husehld energy saving and greenhuse gas emissins targets. 3. The thermal insulatin chice Thermal insulatin is ne f the fcal pint in mdern building design, bth fr cntrlling the energy cnsumptin in winter and summer. The traditinal design principles take int accunt technical parameters like thermal cnductivity, thermal diffusivity, density, price, etc. The actual innvative ec-design apprach intrduces the pprtunity f taking int accunt als envirnmental characteristics. An example is given in Fig. 1: each bubble identifies a defined material, amng them nly few are here highlighted by assciating their identificatin label, nevertheless the CES supplies the cmplete list f the materials cnsidered. 500 Plyurethane Filter Fam: Open Cell (0.022) 200 Plystyrene Fam Clsed Cell (0.020) Ttal energy (MJ/kg) Plystyrene Fam Clsed Cell (0.030) Crk (lw density) Plyurethane Filter Fam: Open Cell (0.03) CO2 ftprint (kg/kg) Fig. 1 Cambridge Engineering Selectr: Ttal Energy vs CO 2 Ftprint fr different insulatin materials
3 4. Envirnmental Prduct Declaratin (EPD ) While it is pssible t publish LCA data cncerning a given prduct, a further step is t prvide third party certified ec- prfile. This is an added value t be used in advanced green markets and t supprt green purchasing, especially by public authrities (GPP green public prcurement). Systems usually emplyed in Life Cycle Assessment studies trace all energy and materials flws starting frm the extractin frm the earth thrugh their use and destinatin in a prduct/service until their final dispsal . The Internatinal EPD System (www.envirndec.cm) has develped a set f rules able t guarantee a higher reprducibility f figures and cntents extracted by an LCA analysis. These data are published in a shrt dcument structured as a label, cntaining the fllwing infrmatin: presentatin f the Cmpany and details n the prduct glbal envirnmental perfrmance f the prduct as use f renewable resurces use f nn-renewable resurces emissin f pllutants It is f curse a vluntary tl, as LCA, but it is furthermre riented twards a cmplete transparency fr what cncerns the envirnmental aspects that can then be added t the envirnmental general infrmatin. Frm this pint f view, besides the cnsistency f making available figures and perfrmances, the EPD prvides data that can be directly cmpared fr an envirnmentally cnscius chice. 5. An EPD case study A pilt prject driven by the Italian Assciatin f Expanded Plystyrene (AIPE), which invlved sme assciated cmpanies - and fllwed by ther similar prjects managed by the Italian Plyurethane Rigid Fam Assciatin (ANPE) - cnstitutes a gd example f envirnmental sensibility. The LCA prcedures have demnstrated their ptential and have been then widely used. In particular, an Italian cmpany, that is active in the sintered plystyrene fam sectr fr nise and heat insulatin and fd/industrial packaging, after several activities fr envirnmental certificatins, started an LCA study (Fig. 2) that arse in an EPD fr Greypr Fam Plystyrene, available at Data, prvided fr 1 kg f prduct, are presented in Table I and II. Fig. 2 System bundaries assciated t Greypr Fam Plystyrene LCA study
4 Table I Data fr the cnsidered EPD case study With energy cntent [data in MJ] Withut energy cntent [data in g] Indicatr Cnsumptin f resurces Nn renewable Prductin f raw materials Data per kg f bard Bard prductin Ttal Ttal renewable Petrleum Gas Other Ttal Of which electricity Ttal renewable Ttal nn renewable Water 184,700 15, ,900 Unit f measure Table II Data per kg f bard Prductin f raw material Prductin f bards Ttal Glbal Warming Ptential kg CO 2 -eq. 2,8 2,9 5,7 Acidificatin Ptential ml H + -eq. 0,58 0,36 0,94 Eutrphicatin Ptential g O 2 -eq. 74,4 42,6 117,0 Ozne Depletin Ptential g CFC11-eq Phtchemical Ozne Creatin Ptential g C 2 H 4 -eq. 2,6 19,4 22,0 6. The key rle f functinal unit The functinal unit (FU) is a measure f the perfrmance f the functinal utputs f the prduct systems and its primary purpse is t prvide a reference t which inputs, utputs and results are related. With respect t thermal insulatin prducts, the thermal resistance R has t be chsen as peratinal parameter  and, fr this reasn, the FU which shuld be adpted fr the systems under study is R = 1 m 2 *K/W. Crrespndingly, the mass (m) f prduct is defined as m = R * λ * A * ρ where λ is the thermal cnductivity, A is the insulatin prduct area and ρ is the density. In the fllwing apprach, the area (A) has been fixed equal t 1 m 2 : cnsequently, based n the abve definitin f FU, the thickness and the mass f different equi-functinal insulatin prducts can be evaluated (Table III). 1 Including hydrelectric, wd, bimass, regenerated, ge-thermal, slar, sea, and waste energy. 2 The prduct has a ptentially available feedstck energy f 51.1 MJ/kg.
5 Table III Weight and thickness f different insulating prducts (data frm Italian Standard UNI) Insulatin prduct λ [W/m 2 *K] ρ [kg/m 3 ] FU R [m 2 *K/W] Thickness [mm] (A = 1 m 2 ) Weight [kg] EPS (type 150) 0, ,00 XPS 0, ,23 PUR (rigid) 0, ,28 Glass wl 0, ,20 Stne wl 0, ,54 Crk 0, ,87 The apprach f adpting the same thermal resistance fr all the cnsidered materials invlved their different weights. Taking int accunt that the envirnmental perfrmance is traditinally referred t the unit f mass, the up described chice f functinal unit pens a new framewrk fr the chice f the mst envirnmentally friendly material. In sme cases artificial prducts can be mre perfrming than the natural nes. 7. Cnclusins The increasing use f Bi and Ec prefixes are a gd pprtunity t identify natural perceived slutins fulfilling cmmn requests, but usually n further data are prvided t quantify the rle within a sustainable life-cycle apprach. Any slutin is suppsed t cme frm the market starting frm technical characteristics, marketing features and an pprtune price. Selecting materials by a technical and envirnmental pint f view is the challenge t ptimize materials selectin by means f an ec-design tl. This innvative ec-design apprach has prved t be a gd way t manage with efficiency the invlved parameters, adding certified data abut effects n glbal scale and lking at the quantificatin f the envirnmental sustainability f prducts. The EPD prcedures demnstrates its imprtance because allws the establishment f a clear chice between varius materials if the data are intrduced in a crrect LCA scheme. It is cnfirmed that the ec-material is nt an abslute value but it is depending n the specific functin which is played in the cnsidered system. References  A.C. Schmidt, A.A. Jensen, A.U. Clausen, O. Kamstrup, D. Pstlethwaite (2004) A cmparative Life Cycle Assessment f building insulatin prducts made f Stne Wl, Paperwl and Flax - Internatinal Jurnal f Life Cycle Assessment, Ecmed Publishers, Germany, Vl. 9, N.1-2, 2004;  Y. Yamaguchi, Y. Shimda, M. Mizun (2006) - City-level Evaluatin f measures fr reducing CO 2 emissin frm the cmmercial sectr - Prc. 7 th Internatinal Cnference n EcBalance-EcBalance2006, sect. C Nvember 2006, Tsukuba, Japan;  M.F. Ashby, D. Cebn (2007) - Teaching Engineering Materials - White Paper, 2007;  Bald G.L., Marin M., Rssi S. (2005) Analisi del Cicl di Vita LCA Materiali, Prdtti, Prcessi Edizini Ambiente, Milan;  K. Kurda (2006) Internatinal Develpment and Standardisatin f Envirnmental Infrmatin Indices f Materials - Prc. 7 th Internatinal Cnference n EcBalance-EcBalance2006, sect. E Nvember 2006, Tsukuba, Japan;  I. Bustead (2003) An Intrductin t LCA Bustead Cnsulting Ltd., Hrsham, UK.
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