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PU Europe presents study on life cycle performance of insulation products


30 Jun 2010


Climate & Environment
Sustainable Dev.

 Recent research shows a similar life cycle performance for the most common insulation materials. Polyurethane insulation shows the lowest life cycle costs in all applications covered.


Building products are increasingly subject to European product-related sustainability requirements through initiatives such as green public procurement, eco-design, energy labelling and eco-labelling. However, the construction products industry claims that performance assessments can only take place at the level of the building. Amid this discussion, PU Europe asked the UK-based Building Research Establishment to develop a methodology for the assessment of insulation materials at the building level.

Speaking at the Central European Sustainable Building Conference (30 June – 2 July 2010, Prague), Shpresa Kotaji (Huntsman Polyurethanes and PU Europe Life Cycle Assessment expert) commented, “The study findings clearly confirm that comparisons between insulation materials without taking into account the end-use application do not lead to usable results. It is essential to know how much of a specific material is required to meet the building design requirements and what are the knock-on effects of material choices on the building in terms of component thickness and weight, ancillary materials and building footprint.”

The study confirms that the most common insulation materials show a comparable overall life cycle performance. Statistically significant differences are only identified for flat roofs where high mechanical performance requirements play in favour of polyurethane. The life cycle cost analysis concludes that polyurethane insulation systems are most cost-effective in all applications covered.

“The study should allow refocusing the discussion on the essentials: the necessity to design low or zero energy buildings and the capacity of insulation materials to maintain their declared thermal performance over their entire life time,” Kotaji concluded.

The PU Europe presentation is available here.

For more details, please contact

PU Europe



Learn more about the benefits of polyurethane insulation at

29th June 2010


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