Within the context of the life-cycle assessment, the Institut für Fenstertechnik [Institute of Window Technology] ift Rosenheim analysed comprehensive data on the lifecycles of insulbar and Thermix “from the cradle to the factory gate”, in other words from raw material extraction through to sale and distribution. It also took into account the disposal and/or recycling. The environmental product declaration now contains reliable values whose purpose is to provide evidence of sustainability to processors as well as to building owners, planners and architects.
Life-cycle assessments pay dividends
“With Thermix and insulbar we are helping to increase the energy efficiency of buildings in a sustainable manner”, explains Rolf Friedrich Buhl, who is in charge of worldwide sales of Thermix spacers for the warm edge in insulating glazing. “For a long time now, it has been possible to calculate to what extent the optimised thermal insulation pays off as a result of lower energy consumption. With the EPD we are going one step further and supplying sound data in order to prepare comprehensive life cycle assessments for systems which our products are used in.”
“In house, too, the EPD provides us with valuable pointers”, adds Matthias Rink, Head of Sales for insulbar at Ensinger. “The data calculated by the ift Rosenheim help us to further optimise processes and products in respect of environmental objectives. With insulbar RE from unmixed recycled polyamide, for example, we have been able – among other things through the use of green electricity – to reduce the CO2 footprint by approximately another 50 percent compared with the previous EPD. This in turn has a positive impact on the EPDs of windows and buildings.”
Certifications on the increase worldwide
Furthermore, EPDs support distributors and processors with fulfilling the increasing environmental requirements of building owners and architects in invitations to tender. According to the “World Green Building Trends 2018” study by Dodge Data & Analytics, out of more than 2000 construction specialists 69% indicated that more than 15% of their projects are designed for sustainability. 83% are anticipating a significant increase by 2021. Customer requirements, environmental regulation and the desire for healthier buildings are driving demand.
The IMARC Group, a market research company, estimates that the global market for “green” construction products will grow by an annual 11.7% to 387.9 billion USD by 2023 . In many countries there are already plans for institutional buildings to be constructed in line with sustainability criteria. For commercial projects and residential buildings, too, be they new builds or renovated properties, certifications in accordance with sustainability standards such as DGNB, LEED or BREEAM are gaining ground worldwide. Here, the EPDs for insulbar and Thermix come into play.