Environmental assessment of façade-building systems and thermal insulation materials for different climatic conditions

Jorge Sierra-Pérez, Jesús Boschmonart-Rives, Xavier Gabarrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. In the European Union, the building sector accounts for more than 40% of the total energy consumption and environmental impacts, representing the area with the greatest potential for intervention. In addition to the existing policies that promote energy efficiency in buildings, the embodied energy and the environmental impacts contained in the building materials should be considered. In the case of the construction of insulation façade systems, the environmental implications are different depending on the type of façade system, the insulation materials used and the location of the building. This article aims to provide all of this information for Spain, including not only the production of the components of the façade system but also the installation phase and the transport to the building site. The results show that the most impactful alternative is the ventilated façade combined with the most impactful insulation materials of stone wool and expanded polystyrene. Meanwhile, the most advisable façade in all of the climate zones is the external thermal insulation system combined with any type of insulation. The environmental impacts of insulation materials are very different. Moreover, it is recommended that further studies complete these results with the economic and social implications of the use and maintenance phases for robust decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-113
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Buildings
  • Cradle to gate
  • Embodied carbon
  • Embodied energy
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Spain

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