The Potential of Bio-Based Insulation Materials for Healthy Living Spaces and Sustainable Architecture

Böhm, Sandra (2023) The Potential of Bio-Based Insulation Materials for Healthy Living Spaces and Sustainable Architecture. LET IT GROW, LET US PLAN, LET IT GROW. Nature-based Solutions for Sustainable Resilient Smart Green and Blue Cities. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2023, 28th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 749-761. ISSN 2521-3938

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In Germany, 30 % of CO2 emissions and 35 % of final energy consumption are due to the operation of buildings.1 The building sector must therefore make an intensive contribution to the energy transition. In addition to the requirement to operate every new heating system with 65 % renewable energies from January 2024, the energy-efficient refurbishment of existing buildings, for example by installing new windows or upgrading thermal insulation, is to be massively promoted in order to reduce energy consumption and emissions. The renovation of the building stock should contribute significantly to the EU's goal of climate neutrality by 2050. In order to achieve a climate-neutral building stock, the operating energy and in particular the non-renewable share of primary energy must be drastically reduced and the remaining energy demand must be covered predominantly with renewable energy sources.2 A large part of the operating energy of buildings is due to the heating or cooling systems in living spaces. Appropriate building insulation, especially in existing buildings, can save energy at this point. Do we want to continue this energy upgrade of our buildings with synthetic materials from finite resources, some of which have been proven to endanger our health, or will we succeed in the biological insulation turnaround that would bring energy-efficient, sustainable and healthy living spaces? With a view to the desired climate neutrality of the EU, is it not a logical conclusion to refurbish the building stock with insulation materials that consume as little energy as possible in their production, while causing virtually no emissions? In answering these questions, it is important to consider the potential of biological insulation materials. What raw materials are available? What are the manufacturing processes? How are the material properties and durability of biological insulation materials to be assessed? The paper examines biological insulation materials and their use for creating healthy living spaces in a sustainable architecture. It focuses on the raw material base, which often consists of residues and by- products, the construction-relevant properties and aspects of material health. Depending on the results of this analysis, the aim is to define the use of biological insulation materials as part of a sustainable resource management in the building sector, which can be understood as a Nature-Based Solution. According to the definition of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) are described as measures for the protection, sustainable management and restoration of natural and modified ecosystems.3 The following explanations are intended to show that the replacement of synthetic insulation materials, some of which contain substances that are harmful to health, with 100 % bio-based insulation materials can help to conserve non-renewable resources and thus combat the scarcity of resources. The mostly very environmentally damaging mining methods of non-renewable resources could be greatly reduced and, in this way, ecosystems could be protected. In addition, the increased use of renewable resources could positively address other challenges within the construction industry, such as the need to create healthy living spaces and drastically reduce emissions from the production of building materials.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainable architecture, renewable raw materials, alternative resources, healthy building materials, bio-based insulation materials
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
T Technology > TH Building construction
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2023 19:42
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2023 17:45

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