Life cycle assessment of innovative insulation panels based on eucalyptus bark fibers

CASAS-LEDÓN, Y.; DAZA, K.; CEA, J.; ARTEAGA-PÉREZ, L.; FUENTEALBA, C.:
Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 249, 10 March 2020, 119356

DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.119356

Abstract

This paper reports on the environmental issues associated with the manufacturing of a new insulation material (panel) produced with fibers from Eucalyptus bark. The analyses consider four types of eucalyptus bark panels with different bulk densities (25, 50, 75 and 100 kg/m3). For each type of panel, the environmental impact assessment is performed using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology and considering system boundaries from cradle to gate. Major environmental impacts were associated to the panel with a density of 100 kg/m3, due to the higher mass required for the same functional unit (R = 1 m2K/W). The panel manufacturing, forest management and biomass transport were the stages with the highest significance, mainly due to: the contribution of the synthetic fiber used for binding the bark-derived fibers, intensive use of agrochemicals in forest management and long traveled distances for biomass transportation. Furthermore, the eucalyptus bark panels with densities of 25 and 50 kg/m3 shown the lower embodied energy and carbon emissions than traditional insulation materials (expanded polyurethane, polystyrene, glass fibers and glass wool). Therefore, it could be an attractive insulation material for a more sustainable building sector.

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