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Environmental considerations for a home extension insulation

There is a growing urgency to reduce the environmental impact of human activities. Energy efficiency initiatives over the last 30 years have reduced the energy consumption of new dwellings considerably, but action to minimise the impact from construction materials has been relatively slow.

The use of insulation in the building fabric will significantly reduce the operational environmental impact of the structure over its lifetime.This benefit will outweigh the embodied environmental impact from its use in the first place.

To minimise this embodied impact too, specifiers should avoid foam insulation materials that use blowing agents associated with ozone depletion or global warming, such as HCFCs and HFCs.

Alternative agents such as carbon dioxide or pentane are less environmentally damaging.

Renewable and recycled materials such as cork, recycled cellulose, flax and sheep’s wool, foams using alternative blowing agents, low density mineral and glass wool: all of these have high ratings in the Green Guide to Housing Specification.

This definitive guide, developed over 20 years and supported in its current form by the National House-Building Council (NHBC), is predominantly based on life cycle assessment data from the DETR-supported BRE Environmental Profiles scheme.

The Guide contains an extensive list of references to all of its sources of data.

Using such materials will help to moderate both embodied and operational  environmental impacts.


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