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The Blue Angel: SKZ revises award criteria for insulation materials and systems in cooperation project

Insulation of the building exterior is an essential measure to reduce energy demand and thus emissions. In this context, the Blue Angel award criteria for insulation materials are being revised in a project commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency. Together with other research partners, the German Plastics Center SKZ is working to create a solid decision-making basis for awarding the eco-label.

June 21, 2023
Blauer Engel Fassadendämmung

Facade insulation reduces energy demand and emissions (Photo: Pixabay, Alina Kuptsova)

Research partners work on decision-making basis for awarding the eco-label of the German Federal Government to plastic-based insulation materials

The aim of the project is to investigate which product groups need to be considered for an award in the context of the energy transition under technical and ecological as well as health-related boundary conditions. Furthermore, it is to be determined how new evaluation criteria can be established in the sense of a comprehensive evaluation of the impact relationships between material, environment and man. In addition to the environmental impacts occurring during production, renewal and at the end of life, the "positive" environmental impacts of an insulation material in the form of energy savings during its use on the building must also be taken into account. In this way, private users as well as commercial property developers are to be guided and the awarding processes of the public sector are to be supported in the most targeted way possible with regard to the decision-making process for the selection or tendering of a suitable insulation material.

Plastic-based insulation materials are indirectly excluded from receiving the Blue Angel due to the flame retardants they contain by the current award criteria. This situation is to be reviewed in the project by working out the current state of knowledge regarding the emissions of flame retardants from plastic-based insulating materials and their environmental impact. By elaborating further criteria, a broad basis for decision-making will be created for a possible award of the Blue Angel to plastic-based insulation materials.

The building sector in Germany is responsible for 40% of the nationwide greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve the climate targets set - climate neutrality in Germany by 2045 - in the building sector as well, measures must be taken to minimize energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In terms of the entire building life cycle (new construction and existing buildings), the largest share of primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to the use phase (heating and user electricity). A key measure to reduce energy demand and emissions in the use phase is the insulation of the thermal building envelope (walls, roof and basement) to reduce transmission heat losses. At the same time, however, new environmental impacts result from the production and disposal of the insulation material. It is therefore necessary to examine the environmental impacts and primary energy requirements associated with the life cycle of the insulation materials in order to identify the most suitable insulation materials. One possible classification aid for this is the Blue Angel eco-label of the Federal Environment Agency. The Blue Angel is a Type I eco-label that identifies products that meet certain requirements with regard to a defined list of criteria.

The project, which will run from December 1, 2022 to September 30, 2025, is led by the Forschungsinstitut für Wärmeschutz e.V. (FIW) in Munich and is structured into four work packages. Other project partners are the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Heidelberg gGmbH (ifeu) and the SKZ in Würzburg.

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Contact Person:

Johannes Schwaiger
Scientist | Sustainability and Circular Economy

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