Developing ecodesign and energy labelling standards for building insulation products would be hard and not especially useful, according to an exploratory study for the European Commission.
The best option would be to set an ecodesign standard forcing manufacturers to provide environmental product declarations (EPDs) on their products’ life-cycle impacts.
EPDs are already required in some member states, and most manufacturers and building federations are not opposed to them becoming mandatory. But this could also be done under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR).
Otherwise, rules on the information to be provided on issues such as installation and in-use emissions could be helpful, says the study, which was compiled by the Flemish research group VITO and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
Setting performance standards would be complicated because the energy savings achieved by different products depends on local climate and building practices, and the construction industry needs a variety of types of insulation, especially for renovations.
The CPR regulation already forces manufacturers to provide information on the thermal conductivity of their products. Energy efficiency information for building users is best provided at the whole building level through the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive rather than via a product label, says the study.
Building insulation is one of the first energy-related product groups to be considered for ecodesign and energy-labelling standards.
Fuller studies are being carried out on taps and showers, and windows. The insulation study will be debated at a consultation forum in May.