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Sustainable building means constructing structures using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient through the various stages of a building's life-cycle, namely design, construction, operation, maintenance, restoration, and demolition. Insulation materials are used to minimize energy loss from buildings, and are therefore generally considered to be "green" materials. Nevertheless, it is still important to take into consideration the environmental impact caused by their production in order to make the building environmentally and people friendly. The production of the insulation materials, like every production process, entails a consumption of energy and raw materials as well as the release of pollutants. Furthermore, the impacts related to some life cycle phases (e.g. installation) are sometimes neglected or not adequately investigated. The importance of environmental analysis of insulation materials is crucial in the context of sustainable buildings because it can help to confirm or change the direction of the development of new technologies.
This article compares three types of insulation (mineral-wool, glass-wool, and polystyrene) using the LCA methodology. The Ecoinvent database was used to evaluate the environmental impact of insulation material production. Moreover, the investigation of energy savings was added to make the comparison more complete.