Annual Review 2019
Climate change, CO2 emissions, extreme weather, unsustainable energy use, over-populated urban areas, changing demographics and a need for a healthier urban environment are among the most pressing issues of the 21st century. Buildings have to become more resilient and Knauf Insulation can help. Here’s how:
Challenge: Globally buildings are responsible for 28% of CO2 emissions. Cities occupy 3% of the world’s land but account for up to 80% of energy consumption and 70% of carbon emissions.
In Europe buildings are responsible for 36% of emissions and 40% of energy use. Only a third of the world’s final energy use is covered by energy efficiency policies, codes and standards.
Our solutions: We campaign around the world to put energy efficiency at the heart of policy agendas we want to ensure building savings promised in theory deliver in reality. And, of course, we produce solutions that contribute to energy savings and the reduction of emissions.
Challenge: Solutions need to be found to tackle unsustainable urbanisation. In Germany, for example, the percentage of people living in urban areas will be 84.3% by 2050.
Around the world rapid urbanisation is straining infrastructure as millions more move to towns and cities.
Our solutions: The Knauf Group has joined with construction companies and policy makers to examine solutions to create a more flexible urban environment such as manufacturing modular homes in factories and bringing them to cities.
Challenge: The five-year average global temperature from 2013-17 was the highest recorded; the 2017 hurricane season was the most costly on record and the number of floods and storms are soaring. Weather is impacting the urban environment putting water systems under pressure.
Our solutions: Our Urbanscape Green Roofs save energy, absorb CO2 emissions and air pollutants, reduce building heat island effect and contribute to urban water management. We are campaigning for legislative measures to increase the uptake of urban green.
Challenge: As buildings get taller, construction more sophisticated, new building materials introduced and renovation initiatives launched, it is vital that fire safety is factored into every stage of urban development.
Our solutions: We drive campaigns and support organisations to put building fire safety at the heart of all policies.
For example, the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive states European Union countries can use long-term renovation strategies to address fire safety; we help specifiers navigate regulation and many of our solutions are certified to the highest A1 fire classification.
Challenge: Nine out of 10 people breathe polluted air; noise pollution is linked to cardiovascular problems and, as we spend 90% of our time indoors, we are exposed to unpleasant Volatile Organic Compounds.
In addition, in the European Union for example, 8% of people cannot afford to heat their home when it is cold, creating serious health risks.
Our solutions: Our products help create healthy, comfortable buildings. Our Urbanscape Green Roof solutions absorb air pollutants; our Mineral Wool* with ECOSE Technology® is certified to the highest Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold standards; insulation supported by ventilation keeps buildings dry and mould-free and the fibre composition of our insulation reduces noise pollution.
And, of course, insulation contributes to health by providing comfortable interior temperatures when it is hot or cold.
Challenge: In Europe, used material from buildings accounts for between 25-30% of all waste while around 50% of all extracted materials are used in buildings.
Our solutions: Our Glass Mineral Wool with ECOSE Technology uses up to 80% of recycled material; we have a UK facility that transforms 60,000 tonnes of used glass into insulation every year; we promote the recycling of Mineral Wool from buildings being deconstructed; support projects to reuse demolition insulation and helped develop a wall system that uses recycled demolition materials.
We are also working on projects to take back delivery pallets and to pick up and recycle customer waste.
*Mineral Wool refers to Glass Mineral Wool and Rock Mineral Wool products
To learn more about future-proofing our built environment read the latest report by the European Insulation Manufacturers Association Better Buildings for a Better Future at eurima.org