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Materials (Basel). 2016 May 20;9(5). pii: E394. doi: 10.3390/ma9050394.

Insulation Cork Boards-Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of an Organic Construction Material.

Author information

1
CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal. jose.silvestre@tecnico.ulisboa.pt.
2
Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal. nuno.pargana@ist.utl.pt.
3
CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal. jb@civil.ist.utl.pt.
4
CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal. manuel.pinheiro@tecnico.ulisboa.pt.
5
CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, Lisboa 1049-001, Portugal. vera.durao@tecnico.ulisboa.pt.

Abstract

Envelope insulation is a relevant technical solution to cut energy consumption and reduce environmental impacts in buildings. Insulation Cork Boards (ICB) are a natural thermal insulation material whose production promotes the recycling of agricultural waste. The aim of this paper is to determine and evaluate the environmental impacts of the production, use, and end-of-life processing of ICB. A "cradle-to-cradle" environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed according to International LCA standards and the European standards on the environmental evaluation of buildings. These results were based on site-specific data and resulted from a consistent methodology, fully described in the paper for each life cycle stage: Cork oak tree growth, ICB production, and end-of-life processing-modeling of the carbon flows (i.e., uptakes and emissions), including sensitivity analysis of this procedure; at the production stage-the modeling of energy processes and a sensitivity analysis of the allocation procedures; during building operation-the expected service life of ICB; an analysis concerning the need to consider the thermal diffusivity of ICB in the comparison of the performance of insulation materials. This paper presents the up-to-date "cradle-to-cradle" environmental performance of ICB for the environmental categories and life-cycle stages defined in European standards.

KEYWORDS:

biogenic carbon; cradle to cradle; environmental impact; insulation cork boards; life cycle assessment; thermal insulation materials

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