Sustainability

Life Cycle Assessment

ASHRAE EngeryArmaflex SAVES 140 times more energy than is required for its production!

Insulation materials are among the few industrially manufactured products that save more energy in the course of their life than is required for their manufacturing. Armaflex closed-cell foam insulation saves 140 times more energy through its use than is needed for its production, transport and. This compelling information is the result of Armacell’s current life-cycle assessment (LCA) for Armaflex products.

An LCA systematically investigates the environmental impact of industrial goods by tracking the complete life cycle of a product “from the cradle to the grave.” All processes, such CO2 Emissionsas raw-material production, energy supply, manufacturing, transport, and use and disposal of the products, are taken into account.

Ecobalance assessments like an LCA provide information on the use of energy and raw materials and the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. A comprehensive LCA also will reveal details about a product’s carbon footprint (PCF), an aspect which is becoming increasingly important.

The Armacell LCA

The Armacell ecobalance analysis focused on comparing the energy consumption when manufacturing Armaflex products with the energy saved over their service life. The result is a specific “energy and CO2 balance.” The analysis was based ISO 14040, the international standard for an ISO-conformity ecobalance. The investigation included:

  • Extraction, processing and transport of the raw materials

  • Energy use and fuel and water consumption for the production process

  • Transport of the insulation materials to the wholesaler

  • Traveling undertaken by Armacell employees

The data from all Armacell production facilities and Armacell markets worldwide was taken into account. To determine the energy and CO2 savings, model calculations based on international standards were used.Life Cycle Assessment

The calculations of the energy savings were based on the following model buildings and installations:

  • Heating applications: three representative residential buildings in three different climate zones in Europe and the U.S. with typical heating and hot-water systems (in accordance with international and European standards)

  • Air-conditioning applications: five representative types of buildings with air-conditioning systems that are typical for Armacell insulation installations

  • Refrigeration applications: four typical freezing and cooling units

The data on fuel, electricity and the respective CO2-coefficients used in the study were taken from the relevant European standards and thus scientifically verified. Only this degree of scientific investigation can reliably assess the environmental impact of a given product.

The Results

On average, 0.4 liters of oil is needed to produce one running meter of Armaflex. By comparison, using Armaflex insulation in HVAC/R applications, approximately 3 liters of oil are saved annually. Based on a service life of 20 years, an average of 65 liters of oil can be saved -- 140 times the energy input!

The energy input needed to produce Armaflex has been “recovered” after just 50 days.

Carbon Footprint

Approximately 0.5 kg of CO2 is emitted in the production of one running meter of Armaflex elastomeric material.  In contrast, the product prevents the emission of 80 kg of CO2 over a service life of 20 years. This means that Armaflex saves 150 times more greenhouse gas emissions than are caused while it is being produced.

If only heating applications are considered, the balance is even more impressive.  In these applications Armaflex, saves 270 times the energy that is used in its manufacture and around 500 times the CO2 emitted during its production.

Did You Know?

The construction business is one of the most energy- and raw-material-intensive industries. The building sector is the largest single source of raw-material input and the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 30% of all raw materials are used for constructing and maintaining buildings. Thirty to 40% of greenhouse gases result from the construction, use, or disposal of buildings. In industrial nations, a lot of energy goes into transport and industry, but buildings account for the lion’s share of energy consumption – 40% of U.S. energy consumption! The majority of this energy is used to heat and cool buildings. In 2012 residential and commercial buildings used about 40 quadrillion British thermal units!1

1   http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=86&t=1

In order to meet the growing need for energy and protect the environment, energy efficiency has become increasingly important. The key to energy efficiency is insulation. Optimal technical insulation is an extremely simple, cost-effective and easily implemented strategy to increase energy efficiency.

Life Cycle Assessment Values  
Energy input: 0.4 l oil/m Armaflex
CO2 emission: 0.5 kg CO2 /m Armaflex
Energy saving: 65 l oil/m Armaflex
CO2 saving: 80 kg CO2 /m Armaflex

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