How does external wall insulation help protect the environment?
External wall insulation saves on the energy required for heating and therefore reduces the emissions from buildings which contribute to the greenhouse-effect; therfore, actively contributing to protecting the environment. The importance of external wall insulation with a polystyrene (EPS) core can be scientifically demonstrated to show the overall effect on the world environment. According to the international standard DIN EN ISO 14040 the environmental impact of a product must be taken into account throughout its life cycle, ie raw material extraction, production, use and disposal - both positive and negative effects.
Life Cycle Analysis
How is the assessment carried out for external wall insulation? The Institute for Polymer Testing and Polymer Science (IKP) has carried out a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for the Association of Thermal Insulation Composite Systems (ETICS) and given a positive result: External wall insulation systems make a significant contribution to protecting the environment and the global climate.
The numbers speak for themselves: In order to insulate a house with 130 square metres of wall space, the energy used will be equivalent to the energy required by a car to travel a distance of 10,000 kilometres. However, the savings made on the renovation of an old building of this size will be several times more over 40 years of its life; the unused primary energy equivalent to a car-mileage of 830,000 kilometres. Homeowners do not have wait that long to see a positive effect from their modern insulation: The primary energy input produced by external wall insulation is saved as a rule in the first warm season.
The systems lasts for 50 years
Generally speaking, the longer external wall insulation is in situ the more positive the impact on the eco-balance at the end of the LCA. The ICP and the scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP), base the life of an insulation system as 40-60 years. Caparol has been the pioneer in the industry and has five decades of experience with external wall insulation systems. Therefore during this time has tested and proved the durability of its products. Over the years the positive benefits have increased for the environment with the growing use of insulation systems. In the UK, external wall insulation has been installed on a large scale since the 1970s. This now adds up to several hundred million square metres of insulated wall space - a huge contribution to climate protection.
Recycling improves the environment
If one day an insulation system deteriorates despite a long shelf life, or the energy efficiency no longer meets the requirements, there are two possibilities. The first one is over-cladding, when the old system is not discarded, but is 'topped' up with a new one. Secondly, recycling - this has been successful for years for construction and production waste.
- polystyrene (EPS) residues are fed back into the production cycle. The material can be used as aggregate for mortar and concrete.
- EPS foam is burned and heat energy is used - for example to generate electricity or district heating.
Caparol, in cooperation with scientific institutions for research projects is committed to "Recycling External Wall Insulation Systems".