LCA & material health results & interpretation Earthwool® 1000°

Scope and summary

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


Used to insulate iron and copper piping in industrial applications and in commercial and institutional buildings. It is suitable for hot, cold, concealed, and exposed piping systems operating at temperatures from 0°F to 1000°F. Additional weather protection is needed outdoors.

Declared unit

Reference service life: 60 years. 1 kg of insulation material, packaging included, plus one square meter of facing over a period of 60 years.

Manufacturing data

Reporting period: October 2015 – September 2016

Location: Shelbyville, IN

Default installation and maintenance phase scenario

At the installation site, insulation products are unpackaged and installed. No material is lost or wasted because scraps are typically used to fill corners or crevices. Packaging waste is sent to landfill, and no maintenance or replacement is required to achieve the product's life span.

What’s causing the greatest impacts

All life cycle stages

The manufacturing stage dominates the results for all impact categories. The raw material acquisition stage is the second highest contributor for most impact categories, but it is the third highest for ecotoxicity and fourth highest for non-carcinogenics. The impact of the raw material acquisition stage is mostly due to the borax, manganese oxide, and soda ash in the batch and the dextrose in the binder. The manufacturing stage shows major contributions to all impact categories. The contributions to outbound transportation are caused by the use of trucks and rail transport. For ecotoxicity, outbound transportation is the second highest contributor to the impacts. 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 a small contributor except for the non-carcinogenics impact category, where installation and maintenance is the second highest 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.

Sensitivity analysis

There are no sensitivity results that lead to variations greater than 10% in the LCA results.

How we're making it greener

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

  • This product uses 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 Knauf products. 
  • Earthwool® pipe is the only formaldehyde-free glass fiber pipe insulation available in the market today.
  • 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 recycles 10 railcars of recycled glass a day.
  • Earthwool®’s glass 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 60 years of service 2.33E-01 mPts 2.35E+00 mPts 4.29E-03 mPts 2.99E-03 mPts 1.02E-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 landfill and landfilling of packaging materials. Transportation to landfill and landfilling of product.

TRACI v2.1 results per declared unit

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.
5.96E-03 1.11E-02 7.04E-04 5.44E-04 3.63E-04
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.
5.98E-04 7.29E-04 4.48E-05 1.15E-04 6.45E-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.
1.15E+00 4.07E+00 5.37E-01 1.70E-01 1.01E-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.
2.38E-10 1.30E-09 1.57E-11 1.11E-12 6.25E-12


LCA Background Report

Knauf Insulation Products LCA Background Report (public version), Knauf 2017

ULE PCR for Building Envelope Thermal Insulation and Mechanical Insulation

PCR review conducted by Wayne Trusty, Andre Desjarlais, and Susan Fredholm Murphy.

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.

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