Forest based composites for façades and interior partitions to improve indoor air quality in new builds and restoration

Life Cycle Analysis of OSIRYS Technologies

When designing a product from a new material, it is important that the environmental impact is considered.
The objective of performing a life cycle assessment in the OSIRYS project is to study the environmental impact from the products developed within the project, namely: the multilayer facade, the curtain wall system, the windows and interior partition.

As a benchmark, the environmental performance of these products will briefly be compared with the environmental performance from common alternatives used today.

The results from the life cycle assessment will give us information about:

  • The embodied energy of the products and the reduction compared to other alternatives (project goal: to reduce the embodied energy of the products by greater than 25% )
  • The environmental behaviour of the materials/product compared to other alternatives

This information may be used as one part of the basis for the decision for the material/product developers, regarding i.e. if the products developed will be competitive in terms of environmental performance or if improvements/adjustments needs to be performed, which parts of the products that contribute the most to the total environmental impact (the “hot spots”) and thereby which improvements that will be effective in terms of environmental performance, etc.

The life cycle impact categories that will be included in the calculations are:

  • Global warming
  • Ozone depletion
  • Acidification of land and water
  • Eutrophication
  • Photochemical ozone creation
  • Depletion of abiotic resources

When performing comparing assessments of the environmental performance of products, it is important that the products that are compared fulfil the same function. As a basis for the calculations, a functional unit that reflects this function therefore needs to be defined.

The primary function of the facade products, i.e. the multilayer facade and the curtain wall, is to provide shelter against the outdoor weather, which includes as well shelter against wind and water, as thermal insulation.

Another important issue is the service life of the different products, since two different products used for the same purpose may have different service lives, which must be taken into account when they are compared.

The functional unit “1 m2 multilayer facade/curtain wall/window with a specific thermal performance during a specified number of years of operation” has therefore been chosen for these products.

The function of the interior partitions is primarily to serve as a room divider and to provide sound insulation. The functional unit “1 m2 interior partition with a specific acoustic performance” has therefore been chosen for the interior partitions.

The target requirement for the OSIRYS interior partitions regarding airborne sound insulation (RA: sound reduction) is 33 to 50 dBA. For the purpose of the life cycle assessment 50 dBA has been chosen.

Funding

This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 609067.

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