HOW CAN FINNFOAM IMPACT THE LIFE-CYCLE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF CONSTRUCTION?
Life-cycle assessments are an increasingly important part of construction projects. A Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is used to assess a building’s environmental impact and consumption of natural resources, i.e., its environmental sustainability. The life-cycle assessment considers the entire life-cycle of the building, from the procurement of materials to the end of its useful life.
The easy-to-use C-calculator was developed for calculating life-cycle carbon footprints. The calculator is a helpful tool for the early stages of the design process of residential buildings, where targeted emission guidance is still possible. The calculator can be used to assess the impact of different solutions on the life-cycle carbon footprint of the building during the design stages.
The life-cycle of a building is divided into different stages: manufacture of construction materials (production), construction, operation and maintenance, and end of life.
EQUIPMENT AND MACHINERY, PRODUCTION DESIGN
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 that allows for the recovery of waste heat from production, which is then transferred to where heating is required. Heat is also transferred to the storage facility where trucks are loaded. Interior lights are controlled with twilight and motion detector switches, as 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 when assessing the life-cycle carbon footprint of buildings.
The FF-FLOOR solution for slab-on-ground foundations is one of the new products designed from the perspective of material-efficiency. The FF-FLOOR solution is based on gray FF-EPS insulation material that is 3D sculpted using a mold-based technology and features 50 mm deep and 50/60 mm wide grooves that produce a 300×300 mm grid pattern on the surface of the panel. This unique structure allows for a 30 percent reduction in the amount of concrete used for the floor, while simultaneously increasing the strength of the on-ground concrete floor by more than 20 percent.
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
The heating of buildings accounts for 26 percent of all end use energy, and up to 75 percent of the carbon footprint of a building is generated during operation. The most effective way to reduce 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 thermal loss through structures, thus producing buildings that are structurally more energy efficient.
In calculating 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 requirements of the products during their life-cycle, as well as their replacement interval. During the planning stages of construction projects, environmental impact is increasingly assessed in terms of the life-cycle, which should always be one of the key factors in decision-making. The improvement of product durability, i.e., extending their life-cycle, has always been a key objective in the development of Finnfoam products.
Structures created using Finnfoam insulation products do not need separate vapor barriers or windproofing panels, which means that they also allow for reductions in the consumption of other materials.
Finnfoam receives insulation waste off-cuts in FF-Recycling Bags and re-utilizes them as raw material in production.