Sustainable products, accessible insight

Sustainable success

Customers will soon be able to analyse the environmental impact of our solutions and compare the results with other products in the market thanks to our new Eco-Design Tool.

Understanding the environmental impact of products and systems can be a complex process — our new Knauf Insulation Eco-Design Tool makes it straightforward.

We have simplified a wide variety of complex information into one easy-to-understand measure using our extensive experience of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

In line with European Union standard EN 15804, our EPDs are independently verified and audited and based on a Life Cycle Assessment methodology that forensically examines the impact of every stage of our products’ life cycle — from the sourcing of materials and manufacturing processes to ultimate disposal, recycling or reuse.

Unfortunately, this is a massive amount of information to digest often featuring up to a hundred individual figures to cover a product’s different life cycle stages and impact indicators.

And even though EPDs provide a wealth of important environmental insight about categories — such as climate change, acidification or resources used — these categories do not ‘speak’ to each other.

This means it is complex to get a good overview of the environmental impact of a product unless the focus is on just one indicator such as climate change.

Our new Knauf Insulation Eco-Design Tool cuts through this complexity by reducing all the indicators into one easy-to-understand measure, the euro.

Why the euro? Well, it is a good measure to reflect environmental impact whether that incorporates the price of a pollutant or the cost of environmental damage. Such an approach adds up all factors associated with environmental cost, such as, for example, the loss of economic welfare when a pollutant finds its way into the environment.

Using the euro as a unit also allows all the indicators to be summed up in one straightforward measure.

The concept has been developed by the renowned Dutch environmental agency CE Delft, among others, and is based on shadow pricing. Shadow pricing is where a value is attached to intangible assets that are not normally bought and sold. For instance, a shadow price may be put on the social value of a public park in terms of community health benefits or its value as a place for children to play.

Vincent Briard, our Group Sustainability Director, says: “Life Cycle Assessment results and the environmental impact of products are made much more understandable through the lens of shadow pricing.

“Shadow pricing can be applied to systems or products and support communication, making conversations with designers and architects are easier while also ensuring discussions between manufacturing teams are more straightforward.”

The Eco-design Tool will never replace EPDs, says Vincent. This is because EPDs are the basis of the shadow pricing calculation and in many situations EPD data is required in its original form without weighting factors. “Actually, they complement one another,” he says.

A pilot version of the Knauf Insulation tool has been tested throughout 2021 and it will be publicly available in 2022.

Sustainable success
100 Liverpool street's sustainability success

The unique 100 Liverpool Street building, pictured here, is based in London, UK, and has been certified BREEAM Excellent for sustainability, WELL Gold for well-being and features a total of 14,700 m² of Knauf Insulation’s CNF boards produced in our Ajdovšcina fabrication in Slovenia.

Powered by renewable electricity it is the first ultra-low carbon building in the London neighbourhood of Broadgate and contains retail, dining and office space. 100 Liverpool Street saved 11,000 tonnes of embodied carbon by retaining half the original structure of two previous buildings, using efficient design and low carbon materials.

Knauf Insulation’s Eco-Design Tool will simplify understanding of the environmental impact of building products such as embodied carbon — the CO2 generated during their life cycle from the sourcing of materials to their ultimate disposal.


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