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Open AccessArticle

Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Thermal Insulation Tiles for Flat Roofs

CERIS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
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Materials 2019, 12(16), 2595; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12162595
Received: 6 June 2019 / Revised: 28 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 15 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Construction and Building Materials)
Envelope insulation and protection is an important technical solution to reduce energy consumption, exterior damage, and environmental impacts in buildings. Thermal insulation tiles are used simultaneously as thermal insulation of the building envelope and protection material of under layers in flat roofs systems. The purpose of this research is to assess the environmental impacts of the life cycle of thermal insulation tiles for flat roofs. This research presents the up-to-date “cradle to gate” environmental performance of thermal insulation tiles for the environmental categories and life-cycle stages defined in European standards on environmental evaluation of building. The results presented in this research were based on site-specific data from a Portuguese factory and resulted from a consistent methodology that is here fully described, including the raw materials extraction and production, and the modelling of energy and transport processes at the production stage of thermal insulation tiles. These results reflect the weight of the raw-materials within the production process of thermal insulation tiles in all environmental categories and show that some life cycle stages, such as transportation of raw materials (A2) and packaging and packaging waste (A3.1 and A3.3, respectively), may not be discarded in a cradle to gate study of a construction material because they can make a significant contribution to some environmental categories. Moreover, complementary results regarding the economic, environmental, and energy performance Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of flat roofs solutions incorporating the thermal insulation tiles studied showed that the influence of the economic costs on the total aggregated costs of these solutions is much higher than that of the environmental costs due to the lower environmental costs of the thermal insulation tiles at the product stage (A1–A3). These costs influenced the corresponding percentage of the environmental costs (between 14% and 18%) and the percentage of the economic costs (between 70% and 75%) in the total aggregated (environmental, economic, and energy) net present value (NPV). Finally, a complementary “cradle to cradle” environmental LCA discussion is presented including the following additional life cycle stages: maintenance and replacement (B2–B4), operational energy use (B6), and end-of-life stage and benefits and loads beyond the system boundary (C1–C4 and D). View Full-Text
Keywords: C2C; “Cradle to gate”; environmental impacts; flat roofs; life cycle assessment; thermal insulation tiles; thermal insulation and protection products C2C; “Cradle to gate”; environmental impacts; flat roofs; life cycle assessment; thermal insulation tiles; thermal insulation and protection products
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gomes, R.; Silvestre, J.D.; de Brito, J. Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Thermal Insulation Tiles for Flat Roofs. Materials 2019, 12, 2595.

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