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Review

Conversion of End-of-Life Household Materials into Building Insulating Low-Cost Solutions for the Development of Vulnerable Contexts: Review and Outlook towards a Circular and Sustainable Economy

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Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia, Brescia, via Branze 38, 25121 Brescia, Italy
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Department of Project and Construction Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC-Barcelona Tech), Escola Tècnica Superior d’Enginyers Industrials de Barcelona (ETSEIB), Av. Diagonal, 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
3
Centre de Diagnòstic Industrial i Fluidodinàmica (UPC CDIF), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC-Barcelona Tech), Escola Tècnica Superior d’Enginyers Industrials de Barcelona (ETSEIB), Av. Diagonal, 647, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Moncef L. Nehdi
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084397
Received: 4 March 2021 / Revised: 6 April 2021 / Accepted: 13 April 2021 / Published: 15 April 2021
In a world increasingly aware of the environmental cost of the current production/ consumption model, the use of sustainable practices to reduce our environmental impact as a society becomes imperative. One way to reduce this impact is to increase the reuse of materials that are considered, by current definitions of ”waste”, at their end of life. End-of-Life Household Materials (EoLHM) can be defined as household waste materials that still possess exploitable properties, thus making them suitable for reuse. There are several studies in the literature that address the recycling of these materials. When it comes to their reuse, unfortunately, only a limited number of studies are available. This paper aims to fill this gap by investigating the possibility to convert EoLHM, such as clothes or packaging, into low-cost thermal insulating materials for the improvement of the indoor thermal comfort in buildings, especially for households at risk of suffering from energy poverty. For this purpose, a comprehensive literature review and a qualitative analysis of both commercial and EoLHM are proposed. Commercial thermal insulating materials analysis is used as a reference to measure the performance of EoLHM. Important aspects to be considered when choosing suitable EoLHM for a smart conversion and reuse are also investigated. The most important outcome of this investigation is the comprehension that the conversion of EoLHM into insulating material is possible, and it implies a direct reduction in waste production, with environmental benefits and positive social implications. However, some aspects such as adaptability, life expectancy, collection and storage are, at present, in need of further thinking and development to make the EoLHM reuse and re-conversion processes viable on a large (neighborhood/city) scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: household end-of-life materials; building retrofitting; thermal insulation; commercial insulating material; vulnerable houses; circular economy household end-of-life materials; building retrofitting; thermal insulation; commercial insulating material; vulnerable houses; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Neri, M.; Pilotelli, M.; Traversi, M.; Levi, E.; Piana, E.A.; Bannó, M.; Cuerva, E.; Pujadas, P.; Guardo, A. Conversion of End-of-Life Household Materials into Building Insulating Low-Cost Solutions for the Development of Vulnerable Contexts: Review and Outlook towards a Circular and Sustainable Economy. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4397. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084397

AMA Style

Neri M, Pilotelli M, Traversi M, Levi E, Piana EA, Bannó M, Cuerva E, Pujadas P, Guardo A. Conversion of End-of-Life Household Materials into Building Insulating Low-Cost Solutions for the Development of Vulnerable Contexts: Review and Outlook towards a Circular and Sustainable Economy. Sustainability. 2021; 13(8):4397. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084397

Chicago/Turabian Style

Neri, Manuela, Mariagrazia Pilotelli, Marco Traversi, Elisa Levi, Edoardo A. Piana, Mariasole Bannó, Eva Cuerva, Pablo Pujadas, and Alfredo Guardo. 2021. "Conversion of End-of-Life Household Materials into Building Insulating Low-Cost Solutions for the Development of Vulnerable Contexts: Review and Outlook towards a Circular and Sustainable Economy" Sustainability 13, no. 8: 4397. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084397

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