Journal Article

Comparative life cycle assessment of different vacuum insulation panel core materials using a cradle to gate approach


The global market trend for Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) is projecting a significant increase in their uptake in the construction sector. This is mainly due to the uniquely high-performance properties of the ultra-thin insulation materials. This uptake, however, can potentially be hindered by the VIPs’ higher cost and environmental impacts when compared with conventional insulation materials. This paper, for the first time, presents a detailed evaluation of the environmental impact of the most common type of VIPs currently used in different applications with a focus on alternating the core material as the main contributing component to their footprint. Pyrogenic silica, glass fibre, expanded polystyrene, aerogel and a silica/sawdust hybrid core were analysed from cradle to gate. The study, on a comparative basis, demonstrates the sensitivity of the various environmental impact categories to the internal vacuum pressure and the subsequent thermal conductivity values. The results show a lower environmental impact for glass fibre and low density expanded polystyrene compared to the other alternatives. Pyrogenic silica, the most common core material, had the highest environmental impact out of the core materials considered. The higher environmental impacts of pyrogenic silica suggest that measures such as the recycling of the core material alongside the deployment of eco-friendlier manufacturing techniques should be considered if the material is to compete environmentally with the other alternative materials.

Attached files


Resalati, Shahaboddin
Okoroafor, Tobechi
Henshall, Paul
Simões, Nuno
Gonçalves, Márcio
Alam, Mahmood

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Architecture
School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-03-25

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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This RADAR resource is the Accepted Manuscript of Comparative life cycle assessment of different vacuum insulation panel core materials using a cradle to gate approach


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