The Dow Chemical Company's Building Solutions Group completed a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA) study of its full product portfolio of insulated sheathing products. This paper, "Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction from Rigid Thermal Insulation Use in Buildings," published in April 2011 in the peer reviewed Journal of Industrial Ecology, reports extensive data regarding the significant amount of Green House Gas Emissions (GHGs) saved from the use of insulation in buildings in North America, Europe and Asia.
The report marks a significant milestone towards demonstrating Dow's approach to sustainable business. In accordance with Dow's 2015 Sustainability Goals, LCAs are conducted to understand the expected environmental benefits and tradeoffs associated with a technology, and to guide product development and implementation. Examining products from a life cycle perspective helps to ensure that anticipated sustainability benefits of Dow's products can be achieved, and helps promote increased sustainability awareness among customers and manufacturers alike.
"Bringing more sustainable products and technologies to the building and construction environment requires a life cycle view," said Neil Hawkins, Dow's Vice President of Sustainability and Environment Health & Safety. "LCA expertise is a powerful asset that can deliver business value and accelerate progress toward more sustainable practices and products all along the value chain."
Recently building insulation products from Dow Building Solutions received recertification by the Cradle to Cradle® Certification program, a well known, multi-attribute eco-label that assesses a product's safety and environmental impact. "This certification, coupled with the additional LCAs, helps re-enforce customer confidence in specifying Dow's high performance building insulations, which includes such trusted solutions as STYROFOAM™ and THERMAX™ brand insulations, that help reduce monthly utility costs while significantly cutting associated green house gas emissions," said Scott Young, Dow Building Solutions Portfolio Director for Energy Efficiency Solutions. "Dow Building Solutions has a proud history working with industry leaders, including our valued customers, to demonstrate the key role high performance, long lasting insulations play in designing sustainable, energy efficient homes and buildings."
Thermal insulation plays a key role in the building sector to reduce energy consumption and related green house gas emissions. According to a McKinsey & Company study, improving building insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce green house gas emissions and lower energy costs. This LCA study validates that Dow's insulated sheathing products when properly installed, are estimated to provide energy-saving benefits that last for over 50 years. The study also examines each stage of the product's life cycle (raw material extraction, production, delivery, use, and disposal) to determine the total amount of CO2 emissions that occur in order to use the insulation. Overall, these results show that over the life cycle of Dow's insulation products the GHG emissions saved are on average 48 times greater than the GHGs emitted to produce, use and dispose of the product itself.
About Dow Building Solutions
Dow Building Solutions has a 60 year legacy of providing energy saving solutions to the global commercial and residential construction industry, which began with the launch of its flagship STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) Foam Insulation, one of the most recognized brands of insulation in the world. A market facing business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Building Solutions offers exceptional building science expertise to help builders, designers, architects and home/building owners reduce energy costs and protect against wind, rain and moisture, while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
About MBDC (McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC)
MBDC is a consulting and certification firm that helps clients become environmental leaders and create a positive footprint on the planet by implementing the Cradle to Cradle framework. The Framework is based on internationally recognized architect/designer William McDonough and chemist Dr. Michael Braungart's book Cradle to Cradle - Remaking the Way We Make Things, published in 2002 by NorthPoint Press. MBDC has two primary service offerings: Cradle to Cradle® Certification is a rigorous and comprehensive certification program that evaluates products and materials for human health, environmental health and recyclability. Cradle to Cradle® Consulting helps clients integrate the larger Cradle to Cradle® design framework to optimize product life cycles, organizational operations and decision-making. MBDC works with global clients within various sectors and industries. Cradle to Cradle® is a trademark of MBDC. Cradle to Cradle Certified (CM) is a certification mark of MBDC.
Dow combines the power of science and technology with the "Human Element" to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's diversified industry leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2010, Dow had annual sales of $53.7 billion and employed approximately 50,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 35 countries across the globe.