The refurbishment of the building stock is a key strategy towards the achievement of the climate and energy goals of the European Union. This study aims at evaluating the energy and environmental impacts associated with retrofitting a residential apartment to improve its vertical envelope thermal insulation. Two insulation materials, stone wool and cellulose fibers, are compared. The life cycle assessment methodology is applied assuming 1 m2 of retrofitted vertical envelope as functional unit. Moreover, to estimate the net energy and environmental benefits achievable in the retrofitted scenario compared with the non‐retrofitted one, a second analysis is performed in which the system boundaries are expanded to include the building operational phase, and 1 m2 of walkable floor per year is assumed as reference. The results show that the use of cellulose fibers involve lower impacts in most of the assessed categories compared to stone wool, except for abiotic resource depletion. In detail, the use of cellulose fibers allows to reduce the impact on climate change up to 20% and the consumption of primary energy up to 10%. The evaluation of the net energy and environmental benefits shows the effectiveness of the retrofit energy policies.

Life cycle energy and environmental assessment of the thermal insulation improvement in residential buildings

Mistretta M.
;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The refurbishment of the building stock is a key strategy towards the achievement of the climate and energy goals of the European Union. This study aims at evaluating the energy and environmental impacts associated with retrofitting a residential apartment to improve its vertical envelope thermal insulation. Two insulation materials, stone wool and cellulose fibers, are compared. The life cycle assessment methodology is applied assuming 1 m2 of retrofitted vertical envelope as functional unit. Moreover, to estimate the net energy and environmental benefits achievable in the retrofitted scenario compared with the non‐retrofitted one, a second analysis is performed in which the system boundaries are expanded to include the building operational phase, and 1 m2 of walkable floor per year is assumed as reference. The results show that the use of cellulose fibers involve lower impacts in most of the assessed categories compared to stone wool, except for abiotic resource depletion. In detail, the use of cellulose fibers allows to reduce the impact on climate change up to 20% and the consumption of primary energy up to 10%. The evaluation of the net energy and environmental benefits shows the effectiveness of the retrofit energy policies.
2021
Bio‐based materials
Building retrofit
Energy
Life cycle assessment
Sustainability
Thermal insulation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/104544
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