LCA results & interpretation KN Series Insulation

Scope and summary

  • Cradle to gate
  • Cradle to gate with options
  • Cradle to grave


KN Series Insulation is used as thermal and/or acoustical insulation in the appliance, equipment, industrial, commercial, and marine markets. KN Series Insulation has been successfully used as a Red List free and formaldehyde-free core in double wall duct systems.

Functional unit

One square meter of installed insulation material, packaging included, with a thickness that gives an average thermal resistance of RSI = 1m2·K/W with a building service life of 75 years.

Reference service life: 75 years when installed per manufacturer’s instructions
Reference flow: 0.806 kg of product, at a thickness of 0.037 m to achieve the functional unit. (ASTM C518)

Manufacturing data

Reporting period: January 2022 – December 2022
Location: Lanett, AL

Default installation, packaging, and disposal scenarios

At the installation site, insulation products are unpackaged and installed. Staples may be used to install rolls. The potential impact of the staples is assumed to be negligible since their use is spread out over hundreds of bags of product; therefore, they were not included in the model.

No material is assumed to be lost or wasted. Scraps are typically used to fill corners or crevices. Plastic packaging waste is disposed (9% to recycling, 68% to landfill, and 17% to incineration), and no maintenance or replacement is required over the life of the building. After removal, the insulation is assumed to be landfilled. Insulation and packaging waste are assumed to be transported 100 miles for disposal.

What’s causing the greatest impacts

All life cycle stages

The manufacturing stage dominates all impact categories except ozone depletion, where the raw material acquisition stage takes precedence. The energy required to melt the glass and produce the glass fibers is the largest contributor to the manufacturing stage. The impact of the raw material acquisition stage is mostly due to the batch and binder materials. The contributions to outbound transportation are caused by the use of trucks and rail transport. The only impacts associated with installation and maintenance are due to the disposal of packaging waste, which is the smallest contributor of all the stages. At the end of life, insulation is manually removed from the building and landfilled. For all products, waste is dominated by the final disposal of the product. Non-hazardous waste accounts for waste generated during manufacturing and installation.

Raw materials acquisition and transportation

The raw material acquisition stage is the second highest contributor for most impact categories, but ozone depletion potential is almost entirely generated from this stage. The raw materials acquisition stage impact is largely due to the borax, manganese oxide, and soda ash in the batch and the sugars in the binder. Third-party verified ISO 14040/44 secondary LCI data sets contribute more than 80% of the total impacts to ozone depletion.

Manufacturing stage

The manufacturing stage has the most significant contribution to all impact categories, primarily due to the energy required to melt the glass and produce the glass fibers. Since some batch ingredients significantly contribute to the respiratory effects category, they can lead to higher impact results in the raw materials acquisition stage. However, since sand and borax are melted in the oven with the other batch materials, they are not released into the air as fine particulates. Therefore, the calculated potential impacts as shown in the results tables are likely much larger than the actual impacts in the raw material acquisition stage. This implies that the manufacturing stage may have a greater share of the impact than what is displayed in the total impacts by life cycle stage.


Outbound transportation is the third highest contributor to smog impacts.

End of life

The end-of-life impacts are largely due to landfilling of the product after it has been removed from the building and transported to a landfill. Since materials are assumed to be landfilled at the end of life rather than incinerated or reused/recycled, no materials are available for energy recovery or reuse/recycling.

Embodied carbon

Embodied carbon can be defined as the cradle-to-gate (A1-A3) global warming potential impacts. The total embodied carbon per functional unit of KN Series Insulation manufactured in Lanett, AL is 1.66E+00 kg CO2-eq per functional unit.

How we're making it greener

Knauf Insulation North America (KINA) is committed to providing products that conserve energy and preserve natural resources.

  • Our products with ECOSE® Technology contain a bio-based binder adhesive instead of a fossil fuel-based binder.
  • Our fiberglass contains on average over 60% recycled glass, which requires about 20% less energy required to form glass fibers, and results in about 25% reduction in embodied carbon.
  • Our glass is audited by a 3rd party to ensure biosoluble chemistry from a health and safety standpoint.

See how we make it greener

LCA results

Life cycle stage Raw material acquisition Manufacturing Transportation Installation and maintenance Disposal/ reuse/ recycling

Information modules:
Included (X)
| Excluded (MND)*

*Module D is also excluded from this system boundary (MND).

(X) A1 Raw materials (X) A3 Manufacturing (X) A4 Distribution (X) A5 Installation (X) C1 Deconstruction
(X) A2 Transportation     (X) B1 Use (X) C2 Transportation
      (X) B2 Maintenance (X) C3 Waste processing
      (X) B3 Repair (X) C4 Disposal
      (X) B4 Replacement  
      (X) B5 Refurbishment  
      (X) B6 Operational energy use  
      (X) B7 Operational water use  
Impacts per 1 square meter of insulation material 7.30E-03 mPts 1.13E-02 mPts 4.38E-04 mPts 4.22E-05 mPts 6.02E-04 mPts
Materials or processes contributing >20% to total impacts in each life cycle stage Batch material and binder material production. Energy required to melt the glass and produce the glass fibers. Truck and rail transportation used to transport product to building site. Transportation to landfill and landfilling of packaging materials. Transportation to landfill and landfilling of product at end of life.

TRACI v2.1 results per functional unit (unfaced KN series Insulation - Lanett, AL)

Life cycle stage Raw material acquisition Manufacturing Transportation Installation and maintenance Disposal/ reuse/ recycling

Ecological damage

Impact category Unit
Global warming kg CO2 eqKilograms of Carbon Dioxide equivalent
Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to change in global climate patterns and is caused by the increase of the sources of greenhouse gases and decrease of the sinks due to deforestation and land use. GW leads to problems in human health, agriculture, forest, water source, and damage to species and biodiversity as well as coastal areas.
2.55E-01 1.40E+00 2.37E-02 8.20E-03 2.91E-02
Ozone depletion kg CFC-11 eq Kilograms of Trichlorofluoromethane equivalent
Ozone depletion is the reduction of ozone in the stratosphere caused by the release of ozone depleting chemicals. Ozone depletion can increases ultraviolet B radiation to the earth which can adversely affect human health (skin cancer and cataracts and immune-system suppression) and other systems (marine life, agricultural crops, and other vegetation) and causes damage to human-built materials.
4.42E-15 1.79E-13 5.28E-17 8.29E-17 8.40E-16
Acidification kg SO2 eq Kilograms of Sulfur Dioxide equivalent
Acidification processes increase the acidity of water and soil systems and causes damage to lakes, streams, rivers, and various plants and animals, as well as building materials, paints, and other human-built structures.
1.43E-03 2.23E-03 1.21E-04 4.88E-06 1.22E-04
Eutrophication kg N eqKilograms of Nitrogen equivalent
Eutrophication is the enrichment of an aquatic ecosystem with nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) that accelerate biological productivity (growth of algae and weeds) and an undesirable accumulation of algal biomass which impacts industry, agriculture, drinking, fishing, and recreation and causes death of fish and shellfish, toxicity to humans, marine mammals and livestock, and reduces biodiversity.
4.28E-04 6.23E-04 1.04E-05 2.26E-06 7.51E-06


LCA Background Report
Knauf Insulation North America and Manson Insulation Products LCA Background Report (public version), Knauf Insulation North America (KINA) 2023; developed using the TRACI v2.1 and CML impact assessment methodologies, and LCA for Experts modeling software.

ISO 14025, “Sustainability in buildings and civil engineering works -- Core rules for environmental product declarations of construction products and services”

ISO 21930:2017 serves as the core PCR along with UL Part A.

UL Part A: Life Cycle Assessment Calculation Rules and Report Requirements v4.0
March, 2022. PCR review conducted by Lindita Bushi, PhD, Chair (Athena Sustainable Materials Institute), [email protected]; Hugues Imbeault-Tétreault (Group AGECO); and Jack Geibig (Ecoform).

UL Part B: Building Envelope Thermal Insulation EPD Requirements, v2.0
April, 2018. PCR review conducted by Thomas Gloria, PhD, Chair (Industrial Ecology Consultants) [email protected]; Christoph Koffler, PhD (thinkstep); Andre Desjarlais (Oak Ridge National Laboratory).

UL Environment General Program Instructions v2.4, July 2018 (available upon request)

Download PDF SM Transparency Report / EPD

SM Transparency Reports (TR) are ISO 14025 Type III environmental declarations (EPD) that enable purchasers and users to compare the potential environmental performance of products on a life cycle basis. Environmental declarations from different programs (ISO 14025) may not be comparable. Comparison of the environmental performance of products using EPD information shall be based on the product’s use and impacts at the building level, and therefore EPDs may not be used for comparability purposes when not considering the building energy use phase as instructed under this PCR. Full conformance with the PCR for Building Envelope Thermal Insulation allows EPD comparability only when all stages of a life cycle have been considered. However, variations and deviations are possible. Example of variations: Different LCA software and background LCI datasets may lead to differences results for upstream or downstream of the life cycle stages declared.

Rating systems

The intent is to reward project teams for selecting products from manufacturers who have verified improved life-cycle environmental performance.

LEED BD+C: New Construction | v4 - LEED v4

Building product disclosure and optimization

Environmental product declarations

  • Industry-wide (generic) EPD ½product

  • Product-specific Type III EPD 1 product

LEED BD+C: New Construction | v4.1 - LEED v4.1

Building product disclosure and optimization

Environmental product declarations

  • Industry-wide (generic) EPD 1 product

  • Product-specific Type III EPD 1.5 product

Collaborative for High Performance Schools National Criteria

MW C5.1 – Environmental Product Declarations

  • Third-party certified type III EPD 2 point

Green Globes for New Construction and Sustainable Interiors

Materials and resources

  • NC Path B: Prescriptive Path for Building Core and Shell

  • NC and SI 4.1.2 Path B: Prescriptive Path for Interior Fit-outs

BREEAM New Construction 2018

Mat 02 - Environmental impacts from construction products

Environmental Product Declarations (EPD)

  • Industry-average EPD .5 point

  • Multi-product specific EPD .75 points

  • Product-specific EPD 1 point