Steel Structures

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

Environmental burden of insulation materials for whole building performance evaluation


The Department of Civil Engineering worked alongside colleagues to assess and evaluate the retrofit measures taken and to prepare life cycle assessments of these measures, thereby evaluating the embodied energy performance. UK Governments are committed to legally binding green house gas emission reduction targets and it is clearly important to know how well the retrofit measures installed perform.

In order to have a complete the full picture of how the retrofit measures work, it is essential to evaluate not only the thermal performance of retrofitted homes but also assess the environmental burden associated with the installation of the measures. This requires that the installed measures are assessed over their projected life cycle and account be taken of the energy emissions associated with manufacture, transportation, installation, maintenance, repair and decommissioning.

By undertaking a thorough environmental impact survey of the retrofit measures installed in a range of properties it will be possible to determine which approaches have the best payback period by offsetting the installation energy costs against the improved (reduced) energy demands for the treated property. Alongside the environmental impact comparisons robustness testing was also carried out for a range of insulation materials. Reports and briefing sheets from the project are available below.


European Regional Development Fund

Research area(s)

Project dates

Start date: 
October 2012
End date: 
March 2014

People involved