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Article

Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Assessment of the Thermal Insulation Improvement in Residential Buildings

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Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze Ed.9, 90128 Palermo, Italy
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Dipartimento di Patrimonio, Architettura, Urbanistica, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio, Calabria, Salita Melissari, 89124 Reggio Calabria, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Chi-Ming Lai
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3452; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123452
Received: 7 May 2021 / Revised: 7 June 2021 / Accepted: 9 June 2021 / Published: 10 June 2021
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: building retrofit; thermal insulation; bio-based materials; energy; life cycle assessment; sustainability building retrofit; thermal insulation; bio-based materials; energy; life cycle assessment; sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cusenza, M.A.; Gulotta, T.M.; Mistretta, M.; Cellura, M. Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Assessment of the Thermal Insulation Improvement in Residential Buildings. Energies 2021, 14, 3452. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123452

AMA Style

Cusenza MA, Gulotta TM, Mistretta M, Cellura M. Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Assessment of the Thermal Insulation Improvement in Residential Buildings. Energies. 2021; 14(12):3452. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123452

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cusenza, Maria A.; Gulotta, Teresa M.; Mistretta, Marina; Cellura, Maurizio. 2021. "Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Assessment of the Thermal Insulation Improvement in Residential Buildings" Energies 14, no. 12: 3452. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123452

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