How can Finnfoam influence the life-cycle carbon footprint of construction?
Life-cycle assessments are becoming an increasingly important part of construction projects. A life-cycle assessment (LCA) analyzes the environmental impact and the consumption of natural resources of a building in order to assess its environmental sustainability. The life-cycle assessment pays attention to the entire life-cycle of the building ranging from the acquisition of raw materials to the end-of-life stage.
The life-cycle of a building is divided into different stages: the manufacturing of building materials (production), construction, operation and maintenance, and end of life.
Equipment and machinery, production planning
At Finnfoam, consideration of environmental friendliness and energy-efficiency begins at the planning stage of our production facilities. For example, Finnfoam has developed a cooling and heating system, which allows waste heat from production to be reclaimed and transferred to where heating is required. Heat is also transferred to the storage facility where the trucks are loaded. Interior lights are controlled with twilight and motion detector switches, as the large skylights provide light in the daytime.
Minimizing waste in production
Finnfoam aims to minimize waste in all its production activities. The manufacturing process of Finnfoam insulation products does not produce waste. The plant utilizes a recycling line, where the chips resulting from the milling of finished panels are processed and recycled to be used again.
The environmental impact of the packaging used for Finnfoam's thermal insulation products is minimized. Larger lots delivered to construction sites can be delivered on pallets secured with binding straps.
Environmentally friendly products
The aim of Finnfoam's product development is to create products and structural solutions that facilitate the operation of the construction site and optimize cost and material-efficiency. Material-efficiency is also crucial in terms of environmental friendliness where the life-cycle carbon footprint of buildings is assessed.
Operation and maintenance
In 2016, the heating of buildings accounted for 26% of final energy consumption (Statistics Finland, 2016) and up to 75 percent of the carbon footprint of a building is produced during operation. The most effective way to reduce the consumption of energy is structural energy-efficiency, i.e. appropriate and sufficient thermal insulation and efficient doors and windows.
Finnfoam’s mold-proof, plastic-based thermal insulation products can be used to reduce loss of heat in buildings to effectively decrease structural thermal loss, thus producing buildings that are structurally more energy-efficient.
In the calculation of the environmental impact of construction materials, their carbon footprint must be made proportional to the useful life of the materials. Useful life informs the service and maintenance required by the products during their life-cycle, as well as their replacement interval. During the planning stages of construction projects, the environmental impact is increasingly assessed in terms of the life-cycle, which should always be one of the key decisive factors. One of the key objectives in the development of Finnfoam products has always been improving their durability, i.e. extending their life cycle.
Structures created using Finnfoam insulation products do not need separate vapor barriers or windproofing panels, which means that they also reduce the consumption of other materials.