Integration of Life Cycle Assessment in the Design of Hollow Silica Nanospheres for Thermal Insulation Applications
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBuilding and Environment. 2014, 80 115-124. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.05.010
New materials represent an important part of the strategy towards reduced emissions in the building industry. The relative importance of the embodied energy and carbon footprint from the material production in building life cycle assessment is a topic of growing interest. However, there is a recurrent lack of tools to integrate environmental assessment in the early stages of material research and development. This study summarizes a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) of a new nano insulation material (NIM), based on hollow silica nanospheres (HSNS). The goal of this analysis is to investigate how the different activities in the production of the material contribute to global warming and demand of energy, in order to find how the environmental impacts may be minimized. The analysis will be used by the scientists to optimize the production process and choice of raw materials with regard to the environment. The main outcome of the LCA is therefore recommendations for a greener production of the HSNS. In addition, this study can serve as a suggestion on how to integrate LCA in the design of other new materials and building components.