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LCA & material health results & interpretation Black Acoustical Board and Acoustical Smooth Board

Scope and summary

  • Cradle to gate
  • Cradle to gate with options
  • Cradle to grave


Designed for use in North America as acoustical insulation and/or a visual barrier on walls and ceilings, where system design requires a rigid product and where additional strength and abuse resistance are required. The black surface provides a visual barrier with an aesthetic appearance, in both wall and ceiling applications. 

Acoustical Smooth Board is a versatile product fitting for a variety of acoustical applications such as office partitions, interior panels, and sound baffles in North America.

Insulation is delivered to the installation site as one packaged bag containing varying amounts of product.

Functional unit

Reference service life: 75 years. One square meter of installed insulation material, packaging included, with a thickness that gives an average thermal resistance of RSI=1m2·K/W over a period of 75 years.

Reference flow: 3.20 kg of product with no facing options, at a thickness of 0.320 m to achieve the functional unit. (ASTM C518)

Manufacturing data

Reporting period: October 2015 – September 2016

Location: Shelbyville, IN

Default installation, packaging, and disposal scenarios

At the installation site, insulation products are unpackaged and installed. Staples may be used to install board products. No material is lost or wasted because scraps are typically used to fill corners or crevices. Packaging waste, made up of paper and plastic, is disposed (plastic: 15% to recycling, 68% to landfill, and 17% to incineration; paper: 75% to recycling, 20% to landfill, and 5% to incineration), and no maintenance or replacement is required to achieve the product's life span. After removal, the insulation is assumed to be landfilled.

What’s causing the greatest impacts

All life cycle stages

The manufacturing stage dominates the results for all impact categories except for eutrophication, respiratory effects, and non-carcinogenics. The raw materials acquisition stage dominates the results for eutrophication and respiratory effects, and the disposal stage dominates the results for non-carcinogenics. The impact of the raw material acquisition stage is mostly due to the borax, manganese dioxide, and soda ash in the batch and the dextrose in the binder. Since sand and borax are melted in the oven, they are not released into the air as fine particulates and therefore likely actually contribute less than what is calculated in the results tables below. The manufacturing stage shows major contributions to all impact categories. For smog and ecotoxcity, the transportation stage was the second highest contributor to the results; the contributions to outbound transportation are caused by the use of trucks and rail transport. For carcinogenics, the disposal stage was the second highest contributor to the results; the landfilling of the discarded product contributes to the disposal stage. The only impacts associated with installation and maintenance are due to the disposal of packaging waste, which is the smallest contributor to the results.

Manufacturing stage

The energy required to melt the glass and produce the glass fibers is the largest contributor to the manufacturing stage for all impact categories.

Characterized vs. single score results

Due to normalization and weighting, different stages can dominate the characterized and single score results. The batch ingredients sand and borax contribute significantly to the respiratory effects category, causing the raw materials acquisition stage to dominate the mPt results, but not the characterized results. However, they are not released into the air as fine particulates and therefore likely actually contribute less than what is calculated in the raw material acquisition stage. What this means is that the manufacturing stage may have a larger share of the impact than what is displayed in the total impacts by life cycle stage.

Sensitivity analysis

The deviation between these two products is the addition of a black mat layer on the Black Acoustical Board. However, there is no significant impact on any of the impact categories due to this deviation.

Multi-product weighted average

Results represent the weighted average using production volumes for the products covered. Variations of specific products for differences of 10–20% against the average are indicated in purple; differences greater than 20% are indicated in red. A difference greater than 10% is considered significant.

How we're making it greener

Knauf and Manson are committed to providing products that conserve energy and preserve natural resources.

  • These products use ECOSE® Technology, which is a plant-based binder adhesive instead of a fossil fuel based binder. ECOSE Technology represents a fossil fuel avoidance equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil a year for Manson and Knauf Insulation products combined.
  • Our product contains a high degree of recycled content, which translates to 20% less glass melting energy and a 25% reduction in embodied carbon.
  • Our utilization of recycled content reduces mining impacts by 60%. In fact, Knauf and Manson products combined use 10 railcars of recycled glass a day.
  • All glass fiber made by Manson and Knauf is audited by a 3rd party to ensure biosoluble chemistry from a health and safety standpoint.

See how we make it greener

LCA results

Life cycle stage Raw material acquisition Manufacturing Transporation Installation and maintenance Disposal/reuse/ recycling

Information modules: Included | Excluded*

*In the installation and maintenance phase, packaging waste in module A5 is the only contributor to the potential impacts.

A1 Raw Materials A3 Manufacturing A4 Transporation/ Delivery A5 Construction/ Installation C1 Deconstruction/ Demolition
A2 Transportation     B1 Use C2 Transporation
      B2 Maintenance C3 Waste Processing
      B3 Repair C4 Disposal
      B4 Replacement  
      B5 Refurbishment  
      B6 Operational energy use  
      B7 Operational water use  
Impacts per 75 years of service 4.06E-01 mPts 1.90E-01 mPts 1.78E-02 mPts 1.64E-03 mPts 3.83E-02 mPts
Materials or processes contributing >20% to total impacts in each life cycle stage Batch material and binder material production. Energy required to melt the glass and produce the glass fibers. Truck and rail transportation used to transport product to building site. Transportation to disposal and disposing of packaging materials. Transportation to landfill and landfilling of product.

TRACI v2.1 results per functional unit

  • A variation of 10 to 20%
  • |
  • A variation greater than 20%
Life cycle stage Raw material acquisition Manufacturing Transportation Installation and maintenance Disposal/reuse/ recycling

Ecological damage

Impact category Unit
Acidification kg SO2 eq Kilograms of Sulfur Dioxide equivalent
Acidification processes increase the acidity of water and soil systems and causes damage to lakes, streams, rivers and various plants and animals as well as building materials, paints and other human-built structures.
6.43E-03 1.95E-02 4.80E-03 3.43E-05 1.21E-03
Eutrophication kg N eqKilograms of Nitrogen equivalent
Eutrophication is the enrichment of an aquatic ecosystem with nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) that accelerate biological productivity (growth of algae and weeds) and an undesirable accumulation of algal biomass which impacts industry, agriculture, drinking, fishing and recreation and causes death of fish and shellfish, toxicity to humans, marine mammals and livestock, and reduces biodiversity.
1.16E-03 9.64E-04 3.84E-04 8.53E-06 7.13E-05
Global warming (Embodied carbon) kg CO2 eqKilograms of Carbon Dioxide equivalent
Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to change in global climate patterns and is caused by the increase of the sources of greenhouse gases and decrease of the sinks due to deforestation and land use. GW leads to problems in human health, agriculture, forest, water source and damage to species and biodiversity as well as coastal areas.
1.07E+00 8.14E+00 8.97E-01 5.78E-02 2.63E-01
Ozone depletion kg CFC-11 eq Kilograms of Trichlorofluoromethane equivalent
Ozone depletion is the reduction of ozone in the stratosphere caused by the release of ozone depleting chemicals. Ozone depletion can increases ultraviolet B radiation to the earth which can adversely affect human health (skin cancer and cataracts and immune-system suppression) and other system (marine life, agricultural crops, and other vegetation) and causes damage to human-built materials.
4.63E-10 3.09E-09 6.19E-12 3.85E-11 3.49E-12


LCA Background Report

Knauf Insulation and Manson Insulation Products LCA Background Report (public version), Knauf 2018. GaBi 7, GaBi 2017 database.


ISO 21930:2017 serves as the core PCR along with EN 15804 and UL Part A.

ULE PCR Part A: Life Cycle Assessment Calculation Rules and Report Requirements v3.1

May 2, 2018. Technical Advisory Panel members reviewed and provided feedback on content written by UL Environment and USGBC. Past and present members of the Technical Advisory Panel are listed in the PCR.

ULE PCR Part B: Building Envelope Thermal Insulation

Version 2.0, April 2018. PCR review conducted by Thomas Gloria, PhD (chair,; Andre Desjarlais; and Christoph Koffler, PhD.

ULE General Program Instructions v2.1, April 2017

ISO 14025, “Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works -- Core rules for environmental product declarations of construction products and services”, ISO21930:2017

blue-pdf.png#asset:1581 Download PDF SM Transparency Report/Material Health Overview, which includes the additional EPD content required by the UL Environment PCR.

SM Transparency Reports (TR) are ISO 14025 Type III environmental declarations (EPD) that enable purchasers and users to compare the potential environmental performance of products on a life cycle basis. They are designed to present information transparently to make the limitations of comparability more understandable. TRs/EPDs of products that conform to the same PCR and include the same life cycle stages, but are made by different manufacturers, may not sufficiently align to support direct comparisons. They therefore, cannot be used as comparative assertions unless the conditions defined in ISO 14025 Section 6.7.2. ‘Requirements for Comparability’ are satisfied. Comparison of the environmental performance of building envelope thermal insulation using EPD information shall be based on the product’s use and impacts at the building level, and therefore EPDs may not be used for comparability purposes when not considering the building energy use phase as instructed under the PCR. Full conformance with the PCR for building envelope thermal insulation allows EPD comparability only when all stages of a life cycle have been considered, when they comply with all referenced standards, use the same sub-category PCR, and use equivalent scenarios with respect to construction works. However, variations and deviations are possible. Example of variations: Different LCA software and background LCI data sets may lead to different results upstream or downstream of the life cycle stages declared.

Rating systems

The intent is to reward project teams for selecting products from manufacturers who have verified improved life-cycle environmental performance.

LEED BD+C: New Construction | v4 - LEED v4

Building product disclosure and optimization
Environmental product declarations

  • Industry-wide (generic) EPD ½ product

  • Product-specific Type III EPD 1 product

Green Globes for New Construction and Sustainable Interiors

Materials and resources

  • NC Path B: Prescriptive Path for Building Core and Shell

  • C and SI 4.1.2 Path B: Prescriptive Path for Interior Fit-outs

Collaborative for High Performance Schools National Criteria

MW 7.1 – Environmental Product Declarations

  • Third-party certified type III EPD 2 points