2 Environment 2007
Energy supply under pressure From energy crisis to efﬁciency. A convenient truth. Proﬁtable Who strengthens energy
page 4 We can do it again. CO2 savings await you. efﬁciency the most?
page 5 Page 7 page 8
Environment 2007 3
The race for energy efﬁciency and climate change abatement has begun!
This race is not yet lost, but in all parts of society we must
accelerate fast, keep on track and keep up momentum.
Our climate is changing. Our reserves of fossil fuels are di- Help is at hand
minishing. This report highlights some of the many positive actions that
Climate experts, heads of state and the general public are can be taken in residential, commercial and public buildings.
all concerned. But concerns alone don’t get us anywhere. We Although Rockwool insulation is one of the few industrial
need to speed up the actions that save energy and cut pollu- products to save a hundredfold more energy in its lifecycle
tion. The good news: you can make a difference – and even than is consumed during its production, the Rockwool Group
save money by doing so. itself is an energy user. So this report will also tell you what
we do to improve our own production processes.
Buildings We all have a responsibility to keep our own house in order.
Our buildings consume some 40% of the energy used in the This report provides some guidelines, but to get across the
EU and the US. Heating and cooling are key energy consum- ﬁnish-line, you and I need to act.
ers. But most of this energy is being wasted due to inade-
quate insulation. Using well-proven energy efﬁciency tech-
niques, we can cut the use of heating energy in a building by Eelco van Heel
up to 90%. CEO, Rockwool International A/S
Over time, energy costs of € 270 billion and 460 million
tonnes of CO2 (more than the EU Kyoto protocol CO2 reduc-
tion commitment) could be saved every year in Europe, if all
buildings undergoing renovation were modernised to contem-
porary (low) energy standards. Huge potential exists in other
parts of the world as well. It’s too costly not to act.
4 Environment 2007
Energy efﬁciency – mission possible!
Energy has become a top political issue, and with good reason. Our buildings, accounting for some 40% of the energy use
Modern society depends on energy. The safe supply of cheap in Europe and the US, are an obvious place to start. Here lies
fuels determines the prosperity of billions of people. To feed probably the largest proﬁtable energy saving potential, and this
our needs, the world traditionally cries out for more energy. we can realise with existing, well-proven technology. This re-
But we cannot just create more fossil fuels - nor non-renew- port provides examples of how to achieve important savings.
able uranium - the sources that quench 86% of today’s energy
thirst. Energy efﬁciency – essential for competitiveness and growth
In the last few years, oil prices have multiplied from $24 a In the 1970s the energy-inefﬁcient oil importing world was
barrel in early 2003. Gas crises have also shown how vulner- taken by surprise and the world economy was plunged into re-
able we are, and we see natural disasters and political conﬂicts cession when supplies were reduced and prices soared. Today
which perennially threaten crucial energy supplies. the EU, USA and Japan still import a substantial part of their
Billions of poor people work hard to replicate the quality of energy while China, India and other key economies are fast be-
life seen in rich countries. This is good, but if they also copy coming huge importers of fossil fuel. Who is best prepared and
our poor energy efﬁciency, while we don’t improve, the result least vulnerable if a new energy crisis should occur?
will be catastrophic for all.
The last oil - breathtaking facts
Waste less • 86% of our energy comes from fossil fuels and non-renew-
Economic growth can – and should – be decoupled from grow- able uranium sources.
ing energy use. Most of our energy is wasted. ‘There’s a hole • Energy demand is growing.
in our energy bucket!’ so we must stop those leaks - pouring • Reserves are declining fast.
more energy into the system does not solve our problem. • We use several times more regular oil than we ﬁnd.
In 2007 the European Union decided to improve its en- • 80% of the oil producing nations are facing, or already
ergy efﬁciency by 20% before 2020. The Chinese government struggling with, declining production.
aims to improve energy efﬁciency by 20% in just ﬁve years, • Energy power is being concentrated in a few, vulnerable
but is lagging behind its target. Even the world’s largest energy hands. Four countries control most of the world’s oil re-
user, the US, aspires to become less wasteful and to reduce serves. Three countries control 56% of the gas reserves.
energy imports from the Middle East by 75% before 2025.
Sources: ASPO, BP
How do we get across the ﬁnish line?
Read more about energy efﬁciency – why and how:
“How much energy sovereignty
does a country have when it is
almost totally dependent on oil
and gas imports? ”
EU Commission President Barroso
Environment 2007 5
Energy intensity (2003) - adjusted for purchasing power parity
tonnes oil equivalents per million EUR of GDP
(at 1995 market prices)
If Russia achieved the same energy efﬁciency as Denmark (the EU’s last
net energy exporter), it could increase its energy exports considerably. Rus-
sia uses more than twice the energy to generate one dollar of wealth (GDP)
than the world average. Gas revenues account for 26% of Russia’s GDP .
save 20% again Why save energy?
Improving energy efﬁciency by 20% can be done but, • Security of energy supply
rather than in 13 years as the EU promises, in just ﬁve
• Reduce global warming
years! From 1979-1984, after the ﬁrst energy crises,
Denmark insulated intensively and reduced its need for • Cut energy costs
heating by 20% per square meter ﬂoor space. Subsidy • International competitiveness
schemes, information campaigns, professional advice and • Cleaner air, better health
better energy efﬁciency requirements were all important
catalysts. Other countries can do the same.
6 Environment 2007
More power plants or less energy waste?
The demand for energy is growing worldwide. Hundreds of • € 270 billion in annual energy costs
power plants will need to be built at high cost, both ﬁnancially • 460 million tonnes of CO2 per year (that’s more than the EU
and environmentally, if nothing is done. Energy efﬁciency is a Kyoto Protocol commitment)
comfortable and economical way to reduce the need for new It would also create more than 500,000 jobs.
plants. According to the EU Commission, it will cost 50%- This CO2 saving in Europe alone corresponds to
400% more to produce an extra kilowatt of electricity. • 188 nuclear power plants
• an 18-fold increase in the world’s installed wind power
Proﬁtable CO2 savings: • or 88 coal ﬁred power plants with CO2 capture and storage.
If we bring European buildings undergoing modernisation up to Worldwide the potential for CO2 savings in buildings is even
contemporary (low) energy efﬁciency standards we can, over greater at almost tenfold.
time, save the equivalent of : Sources: Ecofys, CEPS, Eurima.
• 3.3 million barrels of oil energy per day (some 4% of global
consumption for all purposes)
”More efﬁcient use of energy Why make buildings energy efﬁcient
• Buildings are responsible for some 40% of the energy
is the cheapest and quickest used and CO2 emitted in Europe and North America.
way to cut greenhouse gas • 2/3rds of this energy is used for heating or cooling.
emissions” • Up to 90% of the heating energy can be saved with
Claude Mandil, Head of the International Energy Agency
Environment 2007 7
The Rockwool insulation sold
this year will, in its lifetime,
save more than 200 million
tonnes of CO2.
A convenient truth
We can save money & CO2 emissions in buildings protocol. The EU has already given a unilateral 20% reduction
A growing number of reports (from Ecofys, Stern, McKinsey, commitment, but aims at a multilateral target of 30% before
CEPS, the UN’s IPCC - to mention a few) all point to the fact 2020. There is still a chance to limit the increase in average
that better energy efﬁciency in buildings, and in particular insu- global temperatures to ’just’ 2° C. However this would require
lation, is one of – if not the most cost-effective measure to 50%-85% less CO2 emissions by 2050 from the industrialised
reduce CO2 emissions: “Energy efﬁciency options for new and world. Quick reductions have the strongest impact - energy ef-
existing buildings could considerably reduce CO2 emissions ﬁciency in buildings is a technology immediately at hand.
with net economic beneﬁt.”, says IPCC. We are actually losing
money by not saving CO2 and costly energy in our buildings.
Hopefully, this emerging awareness will help to pave the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III,
‘Summary for Policymakers’, p. 18
way for more ambitious CO2 reductions in the next climate see www.ipcc.ch
8 Environment 2007
How to save more energy in new buildings
A building may last 100 years or more. It’s very cost-effective
to incorporate optimal energy efﬁciency from the start, and New roof constructions - allowed energy loss
very expensive to miss the opportunity for proper insulation. (U-value)
Most countries have minimum insulation requirements for new
buildings. But in most cases these standards are far too slack
to live up to the full environmental and economical potential.
North American ambitions
The world’s biggest consumer and importer of energy is the
US. For decades energy guzzling habits have prevailed, but
now times are changing. Sharp reductions in the Americans’
energy intense lifestyle are necessary, if the country is to fulﬁl
its ambition to drastically reduce energy imports from the Mid-
Buildings account for nearly 40% of US energy use. Ameri- Hungary 0.25
can houses are more than twice the average size of a Euro- Slovenia 0.25
pean home, and 77% are equipped with air conditioning. Bet- Switzerland 0.30
ter insulation is crucial. The US Energy Authority points to an Poland 0.30
energy savings potential of 57%-68% in residential buildings. Czech Republic 0.30
Nationwide tax credits of up to $2000 are now given to home Slovakia 0.30
owners who insulate their homes properly. Many states are Belgium 0.40
embarking on energy and CO2 saving initiatives in public build- Lithuania 0.40
ings. Even ultra-efﬁcient ’passive houses’ (see page 10) are Spain (Madrid/Sevilla) 0.45
now mushrooming. Portugal 0.50
Canada is also speeding up energy efﬁciency in buildings. In Italy (Bolzano/Palermo) 0.60
the province of Ontario, energy demands for new homes have Croatia (Zagreb) 0.65
been boosted 21.5% by improved standards for wall and ceiling 0 0.10 0.20 0.30 0.40 0.50 0.60
insulation, high-efﬁciency boilers and energy efﬁcient windows. Almost everywhere in Europe the energy requirements fail to take full account of today’s climate conditions and energy prices. Even these
inadequate ofﬁcial requirements are seldom controlled (and not always followed). In old buildings conditions are even worse. In some
In 2009 and 2012 even higher energy efﬁciency requirements countries, however, a tighter energy frame for the entire building can cause a tendency to choose lower/better U-values for roofs than the
will come into force.
The Rockwool Group has initiated
an historic expansion of production
capacity to meet the growing need
for insulation. At least 6 new faci-
lities - factories or production lines
- will be operational from 2007-
Environment 2007 9
Who improves energy demands the most in new buildings?
make long-lasting solutions
At least every ﬁve years, EU countries must update their
energy efﬁciency requirements for buildings. And 25%
improvements for new buildings are not unusual. Den-
Denmark 25-30% mark and France have also made additional medium
term commitments. The UK aims for Passive House
United Kingdom residential 20% non-residential 27%
standards in six years, Germany and the Netherlands in
Norway2) 25% eight years.
0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%
Only electrically heated buildings
As of August 2009
Residential. Non-residential not yet ﬁnalised
How to stop losing money
Minimum improvement in roof insulation
requirements necessary for new buildings
more than 200 mm extra
up to 200 mm extra
up to 150 mm extra
up to 100 mm extra
0 - 50 mm extra
Insulation standards (minimum U-value requirements)
must be improved considerably in most regions in
order to stop losing money on the heating and cooling
of their buildings. In a city like Bolzano in Northern
Italy the marginal cost savings are greatest if the roof
insulation requirements were to be sharpened by more
than 200 mm. But even with more insulation, the
energy savings can still exceed the extra investment
at today’s energy prices. Even better insulation will
be relevant in countries where CO2 savings have a
commercial price, where better insulation makes
expensive radiators superﬂuous in Passive Houses, or
where energy prices are likely to increase.
source: Rockwool International A/S
10 Environment 2007
Why focus on energy efﬁciency of buildings?
litres of oil energy for heating, per m2 and year
build a Passive House:
• Proper insulation (300-500 mm)
• Low-energy, triple-glazed windows
• No thermal bridges
• Controlled ventilation with efﬁcient heat recovery
• Air-tight with all gaps sealed
• Optimal building orientation for solar gain or protection
It is possible with existing and proven technology to have buildings with a fraction of the present average consumption ! • Low-energy appliances
Sources: EU Commission (2001), Danish building regulations (2006) and www.passivhaus.de.
make entire neighbourhoods energy efﬁcient
When the council of Stenløse in Denmark was selling land
for an entire neighbourhood development, it demanded
that all 750 new houses should be sustainable low-energy
buildings. In this way two million kWh will be saved every
year. This visionary choice has attracted much positive pub-
lic interest and was championed with the Danish Rockwool
Read more at www.rockwool.dk/sw88766.asp
Environment 2007 11
How much energy can I save?
Make the Passive House our standard choice from body heat and from appliances, is enough to heat the
Are you searching for the building of the future? Either as a building. The annual heating demand may not exceed 15 kWh
home-buyer, a construction professional or a building code reg- per square meter. The total primary energy consumption is
ulator? limited to 120 kWh/m2 per year. The impressive energy sav-
Then you can save 70%-90% of the heating costs if you ings more than compensate for the 5%-15% initial extra invest-
choose the best, well-proven low-energy technology for your ment.
building. Cooling costs can be minimised too. Even in refur-
bishment projects, heating cost reductions of more than 80% Mandatory soon
have been achieved. Currently the most widespread concept is The EU plans to make Passive Houses, and similar extremely
‘the Passive House’ - so far more than 8000 have been built. low-energy houses, the rule rather than the exception by
Good indoor comfort, low energy bills and low lifecycle costs 2016. Ahead of this, Passive House standards will become
make this house increasingly popular. Its design includes good mandatory in new UK homes in 2013, and in Germany and the
insulation and windows, airtight construction without thermal Netherlands by 2015. In the UK, ‘Zero-carbon houses’ will be
bridges, alongside efﬁcient ventilation and heat recovery sys- the name of the game by 2016. These low-energy buildings
tems. Most winter days the free passive energy from the sun, can also produce sustainable energy e.g. with solar panels.
The race for energy efﬁcient building solutions has started.
promote energy efﬁciency in new buildings
The widespread construction of Passive Houses does not hap-
pen by itself, but needs visionary regulators. Exemplary are
most Austrian regions where these buildings are given ﬁnan-
cial support. The council in Vorarlberg has made Passive House
standards mandatory for all buildings receiving public support.
The proportion of Passive Houses among new residential build-
ings is now 4% in Austria, and accelerating very fast.
It required 300 million years to
form fossil fuels, but it can take you
less than 300 days to build an
12 Environment 2007
How to save energy in existing buildings
New buildings typically represent 1% of the total building stock.
Therefore the largest potential for energy savings lies in old
buildings. Too often, economical energy savings are simply not
initiated. Or building renovations neglect vital energy efﬁcient
components. There follows a series of examples of how to
overcome some of the practical and legislative hurdles.
“If the EU is really serious about HOW TO!
energy efﬁciency, then the next calculate what you can save
meeting of Heads of State and Try the new free energy calculator and see what you can
Governments should decide that all save in your own home.
public buildings in all 27 Member Sta- www.builddesk.com
tes become carbon neutral by 2020.”
Klaus Töpfer, former Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme
Environment 2007 13
Insulate roof 11%
7% Install solar heating panels
Energy efﬁcient glazing 11%
Insulate external wall 30%
12% Modern heating system
6% Insulate cellar ceiling
What’s the energy saving potential of a typical building?
The percentages are average values, calculated for houses in
Germany. They will therefore vary from house to house.
Source: Deutsche Energie-Agentur
Stop the leaks
Over the last few years, the UK has made strong efforts to im- End-use efﬁciency and energy services (2006/32/EC), more
prove poor energy efﬁciency in its existing building stock. Insu- energy companies outside the UK will be obliged to undertake
lation is a key instrument for reducing CO2 emissions by 60% similar activities.
by 2050, and enabling more than 80% of the energy sav- Even with these measures, the potential remains great.
ings under the Energy Efﬁciency Commitment scheme. From There are still 9-11 million cavity walls to ﬁll in Britain. A simi-
2002-2008 more than 2.5 million cavity walls and just as lar number of lofts have less than 100 mm of insulation or
many lofts will be insulated. Further, the UK energy savings none at all. In London alone, more than 1.7 million homes
target is even more ambitious for the end of 2011. have solid walls of which 99% remain un-insulated. Here a
Major gas and electricity suppliers (such as British Gas) warm ‘overcoat’ of façade insulation could do wonders.
have been given a key role. They must all meet an energy sav- Is your country offering similar schemes?
ing target. In order to reduce fuel poverty, at least half of their
savings must be made in low income households that receive
state beneﬁts. Energy suppliers are even helping to organ-
ise and ﬁnance insulation measures. With the EU Directive on Read more: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/energy/eec
14 Environment 2007
make building renovations energy efﬁcient
It’s cost efﬁcient to add extra insulation at the same time that the scaffolding and
professionals are in place to renew the roof anyway. A modernisation project that
does not apply the most energy and cost-efﬁcient technology is a missed opportu-
nity. It may take decades before the next chance becomes available. Small build-
ings account for some 80% of the building stock. So Germany has decided that all
buildings undergoing renovation, irrespective of size, must be upgraded energy ef-
ﬁciently. The EU is also considering lowering its 1000 sq m threshold. To help ﬁ-
nance the improvements, Germany has allocated more than € 1.4 billion per year
towards interest rate and direct subsidies for the energy efﬁcient upgrade of exist-
ing buildings. The renovated building must be at least as energy efﬁcient as the
minimum requirement for new buildings.
take local initiative
When it comes to energy sovereignty, the US is ﬁght-
ing to regain its lost liberty. A growing number of cit-
ies and states are seeking new frontiers for energy and
CO2 savings. New York wants to become the green-
est city in the US, slashing greenhouse gas pollution
by 30% before 2030. Sustainable buildings are one of
Pennsylvania State aims to become independent of
foreign fossil fuel imports.
make public buildings energy efﬁcient
The public sector accounts for a signiﬁcant part of the building stock. Far too
many public buildings waste energy and tax payers’ money.
But from 2008 the public sector in Europe must play an exemplary role,
for instance by renting, building and purchasing only energy efﬁcient buildings.
And by using energy audits – then implementing the recommendations. The
modernised Berlaymont building in Bruxelles was one of the ﬁrst to be certi-
ﬁed. It’s above standard of many EU countries: 87 kWh of primary energy per
year and m² for heating, according to Fraunhofer Institute calculations. A Pas-
sive House uses about half that amount.
Environment 2007 15
solve the landlord’s dilemma
Energy efﬁciency in rented buildings is a special challenge
because the tenant pays the energy bill. So for the land-
lord to invest in energy savings, special incentives are
needed. In France a 40% tax credit is given to landlords
for insulating houses built before 1977.
Is your country offering similar schemes?
renovate multi-occupancy buildings to Passive House
This architectural heritage building from 1730 was reno-
vated with Passive House techniques. Heating demand
used to be 300 kWh per m2. Now 15-20 kWh per square
meter is being achieved. Today, modern buildings
are allowed to use three times more heating energy than
this, that’s even according to the strictest EU building
make energy efﬁciency easier
While many home-owners know that energy can be saved in their building, un-
derstanding and controlling the energy renovation project can sometimes be quite
complex. Practical assistance is needed. The state of Vermont in the US provides
a one-stop service. The Energy Rated Homes of Vermont scheme provides the en-
ergy assessment, obtains contractor bids for the upgrade measures, oversees the
contractor’s work, conducts a post-construction energy rating and prepares docu-
ments to secure the energy efﬁciency mortgage.
More info at www.erhvt.org
16 Environment 2007
Good insulation and ventilation improve your indoor environment
Is your indoor air quality as good at it can get? We spend Ventilate
most of our life inside buildings. But moisture damage is pre- Moisture must be ventilated out of the building. An average
sent in far too many homes - German studies indicate 20%. family of four members contributes up to 15 litres of moisture
Moisture and fungi increase the risk of allergic reactions. to their indoor air every day. Clean, fresh air also improves
What can you do? poor quality indoor air that can cause headaches and discom-
fort, and can impair concentration.
How to ensure a healthy indoor climate If you live in a building without an automatic ventila-
Insulation, airtight construction and controlled ventilation are tion system (see page 10), open your windows brieﬂy several
essential for a better indoor environment. Properly ﬁtting in- times a day. In this way the air is swiftly refreshed. During
sulation helps provide a pleasant and stable indoor tempera- the cold winter months, 5 minutes (with radiators off) may be
ture between 20-26˚C despite cold winters or hot summers. enough for a complete air exchange without a dramatic cool-
Even expensive heating or cooling, cannot eliminate unpleas- ing of the warm surfaces in the building. On windless summer
ant draughts caused by temperature differences. days, 30 minutes may be necessary.
You can never insulate too much! But if you insulate too lit-
tle, use incorrect installation methods or ventilate too little, Indoor climate labelling
then there is a risk of warm humid air condensing on cold or Rockwool products are qualiﬁed to use the Finnish ’M1’ indoor
poorly insulated surfaces. Condensation can create the damp climate label that has the strictest requirements in Europe,
conditions that allow moulds and fungi to grow. meaning no critical emissions of odours, particles or volatile
organic compounds. Furthermore the Danish Indoor Climate
Label has been given to a number of Rockfon acoustic ceiling
Seven tips to improve your indoor climate:
1. Insulate well, seal gaps, avoid thermal bridges. This im- 4. Noise is best absorbed by materials with open
proves comfort and prevents condensation. structure surfaces, such as textile curtains or
mineral wool acoustic ceilings.
2. Ventilate well. If the building is airtight, a ventilation
system with heat recovery can do it automatically and 5. Ensure adequate light and light reﬂection.
6. Keep the building clean.
3. Keep the materials dry, prevent leaks and keep moisture
membranes intact. A moisture content below 15% in buil- 7. Choose low-emission materials that do not release
ding materials prevents the growth of moulds and fungi. critical amounts of gases, particles or odours. In some
countries indoor climate labels may help you.
Environment 2007 17
Facade insulation of these
Danish ﬂats in Århus removed
the condensation and mould
How insulation prevents condensation and mould
Old, uninsulated building Renovated building
Despite a new window, condensation and mould problems can occur around 200 mm insulation (Passive House technique)
window frames, the foundation, in joints and behind cupboards. new Passive House window
11.0° 16.1° 8.0° 16.0° 17.7° 13.0°
Out-door temperature: - 5° C Out-door temperature: - 5° C
Indoor temperature: 20° C Indoor temperature: 20° C
Surface temperature: around 9° C The relevant surface temperatures are now above 16° C and no con-
densation and mould problems occur. A humidity of 62% is no lon-
ger a problem.
Source: Passive House Institute
18 Environment 2007
Reducing noise pollution
Every day - and night - millions of people around the world are reduce ear-deafening noise from machines or from the activi-
suffering from unwanted sound. Noise causes stress, loss of ties of people. Rockfon acoustic ceiling systems can dramati-
concentration and affects well being. It can provoke stress-re- cally reduce sound reverberation and prevent echoes in a room.
lated heart problems and can have severe negative social and RockDelta green noise barriers alongside roads and RockDelta
economic impact. Some 120 million people have disabling vibration control under rail tracks both abate frustrating trafﬁc
hearing problems, according to the World Health Organisation. noise. This problem affects 40% of EU citizens and can reduce
Lack of sound prooﬁng not only makes life miserable for the value of property by 1.6% for every decibel above 55dB.
people living next to noisy neighbours, it also prevents many A 10dB difference is perceived by the human ear as a doub-
of us from free expression of music and other happy, yet noisy, ling (or halving) of the audible sound. A good wall construction
activities. with Rockwool insulation can help ensure many a good night’s
sleep! It can reduce noise transmission by more than 50dB (Rw
Three things to remember - value) which is about 20dB more than a poor construction
The elements of a healthy building must reduce noise rever- without insulation.
berating inside a room, impede transmission between rooms
and prevent noise from the outside penetrating the building. ABC - what class are you in?
Just 30dB (A) is disturbing to sleep, while 35dB (A) interferes Noise reduction requirements have not improved fast - if at all.
with the intelligibility of speech in smaller rooms. Disturbing The Danish building regulations will soon give noise quality la-
‘echo’ from too many hard surfaces must also be avoided. bels to new premises. To get in Class C (the minimum require-
ment) noise dampening should be sufﬁcient to satisfy 50% of
How stone wool helps the inhabitants while no more than 35% of occupiers should
Rockwool stone wool has an open ﬁbrous structure making it be discontent.
ideal for absorbing and regulating noise. Rockwool products
Critical health effects from noise
reduce noise in your building:
• Use materials with good absorption such as mineral wool Hearing impairment of adult
• Install these in combination with dense materials (peak noise)
• Avoid gaps, especially where walls meet ﬂoors and
Hearing impairment of child
• Insulate against vibrations - be careful about details
• Avoid too many hard surfaces in the room
• Acoustic ceilings, textiles and other materials with open
structures, help prevent ‘echo’ 85
(daily noise for 1 hour)
• Buy machines with low noise emissions Hearing impairment
• Develop a culture of respect: louder isn’t always better (daily noise for 24 hrs)
• Noise screens – including well-insulated windows, walls 55 Serious annoyance (outdoor)
and roof – help against trafﬁc noise
35 Disturbance of communication
30 Sleep disturbance
Learn more about how you can reduce noise at
Source: World Health Organisation
Environment 2007 19
Before: “It’s very strenuous for After: “You can now hear the
me. You get really stressed.” teacher much better. Especially
because I sit in the back row.”
Diana Lammert, teacher, Berlin
In Germany, a country which has produced unacceptable
listen and learn results in the international PISA learning studies, one of four
The future wealth of society is sown in our education system. children has hearing problems, and many pupils come from
But ‘noise infernos’ are a reality in far too many class rooms. families who are not native speakers.
Millions of school years of concentrated learning are lost due But better acoustics can prevent these noise problems. In
to poor acoustics. When the teacher’s speech becomes a mud- the Droste-Hülshoff School in Berlin, Rockfon acoustic ceiling
dled echo in the class room, it is difﬁcult to understand, to & wall absorbers, plus a sound absorbing ﬂoor, have reduced
concentrate - and to keep quiet. A vicious circle of noise starts. the reverberation to a third: from 1.7 seconds to just 0.5 sec-
Reverberation times should not exceed 0.6 seconds. Even onds. The Rockfon solution will work for many years. Seminars
at 0.7 seconds only 67% of the spoken word remains compre- are now being arranged to encourage a small investment
hensible, falling to less than half (40%) at 1.7 seconds. This (€ 1000 - 2000 per class room, or less than a month’s salary)
is compounded for people with hearing difﬁculties or for those to be made in more class rooms.
without full command of a language that is not their mother
tongue. See and hear the German TV report
20 Environment 2007
The impact of Rockwool products and production
Positive environmental balance
Energy saving Rockwool insulation is one of the few industrial HOW TO!
products with an overall positive environmental balance. Im-
proving that balance is key. All our 23 factories should be able make Rockwool insulation
to demonstrate efﬁcient use of resources, local responsibility The Rockwool process resembles the natural action of
and respect towards our neighbours. the volcano: stone wool is made by melting rock, lime-
stone and recycled briquettes with other raw materials
Once again in 2006 better results were achieved: at 1500°C in a coke-heated cupola furnace. The resul-
• Seven of 13 key performance indicators were improved tant liquid stone melt is spun into ﬁbres. Binder and
from 2002 to 2006 (see p. 21). impregnating oil are added to make the material stable
• The tradition of green accolades continued. Rockwool Ltd. and water-repellent. The stone wool is then heated to
in the UK won another environmental award. about 200°C in order to cure the binder and stabilise
• In 2006 the Rockwool Group was not involved in any the material for ﬁnal processing into a variety of prod-
environmental court cases. ucts. Environmental equipment – ﬁlters, pre-heaters,
after-burners, and other cleaning and collection sys-
Mandatory green standards tems – makes the ‘tamed volcano’ an environmentally
All Group companies must fulﬁl Rockwool environmental responsible process.
standards which specify procedures, responsibilities and as-
sessment methods. In some cases the Group environment See the video ‘People & Environment‘
policy tells us to go beyond local legislation requirements.
Compliance is regularly audited.
Some subsidiaries have chosen certiﬁed management sys-
tems like ISO 14001 or EMAS, audited by third-party ex-
perts. In 2006 a total of 40 environmental, energy, and ﬁre
& safety audits were made. On average a Rockwool factory is
subject to one such scrutiny at least once a year.
Environment 2007 21
Since 2002 the Group’s water usage per
produced unit has been reduced by 19%.
Environmental production ﬁgures
Excluding impact from product use. The total life cycle eco-balance for a typical insulation product is illustrated in the Eco-balance
charts on pages 22 and 24.
2002 = Index 100 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Change Comments
5 years trend Page
Factories included in key ﬁgures 23 20 21 21 21
Energy 100 98 95 91 90 22
Carbon dioxide 1 100 97 98 97 102 = 24-25
Carbon monoxide 1+3 100 108 132 137 141 24-25
Sulphur dioxide 2 100 106 96 105 104 = 24-25
Nitrogen dioxides 1+2+3+4 100 105 107 105 94 = 24-25
Ammonia 2+3+4 100 93 93 83 75 24-25
Formaldehyde 3 100 67 61 70 63 24+26
Phenol 3 100 100 79 70 72 24
Water consumption 100 89 86 86 81 24-25
Dust 100 120 96 102 108 25
Waste to landﬁll 100 70 62 47 56 27
Recycling – residual products from other industries 100 103 95 101 103 = 27
Accidents per million working hours (not indexed) 19.1 15.8 15.6 16.2 11.5 26
1 Global warming potential, 2 Acid rain, 3 Smog, 4 Nutriﬁcation
The key environmental ﬁgures include consumption and emissions in the production phase at the Rockwool factories. The energy consumption is calculated
in mWh and the water consumption in m3. All other key ﬁgures are calculated by weight. The key ﬁgures are indexed and shown per tonne line stone wool,
except accidents among factory workers (direct personnel) which are indicated per million working hours. Three plants were closed during 2002. Our second
plant in Hungary, which was acquired during the last few days before year end 2003 is included in the 2004 ﬁgures. For one of the acquired factories, some
of the data was not registered.
A green ‘smiley’ indicates a positive trend from 2002 - 2006.
Red symbols a set-back from 2002 - 2006.
= Indicates a stable trend from 2002-2006 (max 2% change in ﬁve year average).
22 Environment 2007
Energy and the Rockwool impact
The impact of our production
Energy efﬁciency has been top priority for many years. It is also
an important key to reducing other environmental impacts of pro-
duction, such as CO2, NOx and SO2 emissions. In our acquired
factories, Rockwool know-how has improved energy efﬁciency by
50% per produced unit, while at the same time enhancing prod-
uct quality, environmental performance and delivery precision.
In 2006 energy efﬁciency improvements of 10% have been
obtained compared to 2002.
The good neighbour
Our environmental improvements for the many depend on a
good responsible relationship with the few who have a Rock-
wool factory in their neighbourhood. The new plant in Croatia
is state-of-the-art built with the Best Available environment
Technology (BAT). But technology alone doesn’t bring trust.
The Rockwool Group always seeks open dialogue to satisfy the
curiosity, and sometimes natural scepticism, of our neighbours,
new and old.
The positive impact of our products
Rockwool Eco-balance: Energy
Source: FORCE TECHNOLOGY/dk-TEKNIK
Used in life-cycle
Saved in life-cycle
Life-cycle assessment (LCA)
Rockwool insulation is one of the major energy savers. A typical 250 mm Rockwool loft insulation product – manufactured and installed in Denmark and
used over 50 years - will save 128 times more primary energy than was used for its production, transport and disposal. The energy balance becomes positive
only ﬁve months after installation.
This, however, is a conservative example. For a product that insulates hot pipes, the energy payback can be less than 24 hours - the return on invested
energy is more than 10,000-fold.
Read the ISO 14000 compliant, peer reviewed LCA. Source: FORCE TECHNOLOGY/dk-TEKNIK
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment,
no 9 2004, p.53-56 & 122-129
save energy in industrial processes
Intensify energy audits, implement appropriate measures
and reap large, proﬁtable energy savings! In the Polish
plant at Malkina € 200,000 will be saved each year -
that’s eight times more than the investment in better en-
Environment 2007 23
Summary of our Group Environment Policy
With the commitment of all the subsidiary companies, and in any given area, then to inform the authorities immedi-
in consultation with their managing directors, the Rockwool ately and take steps enabling compliance;
Group has drawn up an environment policy. In accordance
with this, our companies undertake: • to maintain an open dialogue with stakeholders –
customers, regulatory authorities, investors, employees,
• to carry out an environmental analysis of all projects suppliers, and neighbours – in order to ensure that relevant
involving new production equipment or new products interests and requirements concerning environmental
before they are initiated; issues are met;
• to have an environmental management system which • via the Group’s environment department, to carry out
describes responsibility and control procedures, and to audits at the plants to assist the environmental work of
make constant improvements to this system; the manufacturing companies.
• to ensure that the factories do not cause problems for their The Rockwool companies have acceded to the International
neighbours of a more serious nature than is normal in an Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s Business Charter for
area also housing industry; Sustainable Development – Principles for Environmental
• as a minimum, to comply with the conditions imposed on
them by the regulatory authorities; if this is not happening
24 Environment 2007
Reducing air pollution
Reduced use of fossil fuels is an important means of curbing the melting process, and phenol and formaldehyde from the
air pollution such as smog, acid rain and nutriﬁcation. World- small amounts of resin binder used to stabilise stone wool ﬁ-
wide 800,000 deaths a year are attributable to urban air bres. The combustion of CO also improves energy efﬁciency.
pollution that is largely the result of the combustion of fossil At temperatures exceeding 700°C, most of the airborne
fuels for transport, power generation and other human activi- organic remnants from the production process are burnt off.
ties. Particles and smog (photochemical ozone) can cause se- This also includes ammonia evaporating from the binder,
rious lung diseases and premature cardio-respiratory deaths. thus reducing the potential for nutriﬁcation.
Asthma patients are amongst those most at risk.
Less waste of sulphur-rich fossil fuel also means less acid Results
rain that can damage trees, corrode the surfaces of buildings The Group’s emissions of ammonia, formaldehyde and phenol,
and cars and reduce the bio-diversity in lakes. which can cause smog, have decreased since 2002, whereas
Oil, coal and gas also contain nitrous compounds. After CO emissions have increased. Emissions of nitrogen oxides
combustion they end up in the environment partly as nutrients have not changed signiﬁcantly.
that can disturb the eco-balance of water and soil, choking en- At the same time, due to recycling, the amount of waste
dangered plants or causing the explosive growth of toxic algae to landﬁll has decreased strongly. This is positive, but neces-
in lakes or at beaches in seawater on hot summer days. sitates more sulphur-rich cement for the recycling briquettes.
Therefore, even with improved energy efﬁciency and ﬁlters, the
Improving the impact of our production total acid air emissions are status quo.
The Rockwool factories use afterburner plants and other envi- The nutriﬁcation emissions per tonne stone wool have been
ronmental equipment to minimise emissions such as CO from reduced since 2002.
The impact of our products
-1 no reliable data
Rockwool Eco-balance: Smog (C2H4 equivalents)
Rockwool Eco-balance: Nutriﬁcation (PO43-- equivalents)
Rockwool Eco-balance: Acid rain (SO2 equivalents)
Rockwool Eco-balance: CO2
Used in life-cycle A typical Rockwool loft insulation product will, in its lifetime, save 162 times more acid rain and
Saved in life-cycle CO2 - and 61 times more nutriﬁcation components - than the 52.7 g, 9.6 kg and 9.6 g emitted during
its production. The environmental balance swings to positive four months after installation for acid rain
and CO2 abatement and after 10 months for prevented airborne nutrients. Smog is also reduced, but
SOURCE: FORCE TECHNOLOGY/dk-TEKNIK
the complexity of photochemical processes prevents a precise quantiﬁcation.
Energy savings improve air quality.
A typical Rockwool loft insulation
product saves 61-162 times more air
pollutants than were emitted during
Environment 2007 25
In 2007 extra environmental afterburner equipment is being
added to the plant in Vamdrup, Denmark. By burning off or-
ganic components, emissions with a distinctive smell will be
markedly reduced to the beneﬁt of our neighbours.
CO2 emissions Dust from production
All Rockwool plants in the EU have implemented procedures In 2006 dust emissions have increased by 8% compared to
for the detailed monitoring and documentation of their CO2 2002. The Rockwool factories use ﬁlters to collect dust and ﬂy
emissions. In 2006 the signiﬁcant expansion of our production ash from the furnaces. The Group aims to recycle and re-melt
made it necessary, for the ﬁrst time, to purchase CO2 allow- as much dust as possible.
ances. Despite improved energy efﬁciency, the Group has not
improved its CO2 efﬁciency. This is not satisfactory. Sustainable ﬁre protection
Good ﬁre protection is vital if a building is to be safeguarded
Within REACH for the long-term.
Safe control and handling of chemicals is a key priority. The Rockwool stone wool cannot burn, and can withstand heat
Rockwool Group will ensure complete compliance with Eu- of 1000°C. It can thus prevent the spread of ﬁre. Fewer severe
rope’s new chemicals regulation (REACH). ﬁres means less pollution of air, soil and water.
26 Environment 2007
Workplace and product safety
The Rockwool Group is committed to safe products and safe process virtually eliminates the release of formaldehyde from
workplaces. It is also our policy to inform customers how to in- the ﬁnished product. Indoor climate tests demonstrate that for
stall and handle products correctly. building use at normal temperatures, no emission problems ex-
ist. Rockwool products in contact with the indoor climate qualify
Safety of stone wool ﬁbres as M1 - the best indoor climate category according to the strict
The World Health Organisation concluded in 2001 that rock requirements used in Finland. It is also possible to buy Rockfon
(stone) wool should be removed from classiﬁcation as a ”pos- acoustic ceilings with the Danish Indoor Climate Label.
sible human carcinogen“. This positive re-classiﬁcation is be- During production a number of chemicals are present in the
cause epidemiological studies and long-term inhalation stud- phase before the binder is cured, including ammonia, phenol
ies have provided no evidence of increased risk of lung cancer and formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen and skin irri-
from occupational exposure to stone wool ﬁbres. tant. A safety system is used to prevent our employees from
having skin contact with uncured binder. Ventilation and other
Skin contact environmental equipment help minimise air emissions and pro-
Handling Rockwool products can result in transient itching due tect workplace safety.
to the mechanical effect of coarse ﬁbres. In 1997 the EU clas-
siﬁed mineral wool products as irritating to the skin. The min- Good ventilation at high temperatures
eral wool industry has made a set of recommendations about Rockwool products have a high content of inorganic (stone)
how to handle products in a way that minimises transient itch- material that cannot burn or give off smoke. It is one of the
ing of the skin. safest materials when it comes to ﬁre or extreme heat. Like all
organic compounds, the small amounts of binder and oil can
Binder components release decomposition products when heated. High concentra-
Rockwool products typically consist of 98% inorganic (stone) tions of these fumes may irritate the eyes and respiratory sys-
materials and only 2% organic material: a highly reﬁned oil tem. To cover the special circumstances where insulation is
makes the insulation water-repellent and reduces dust, and to heated up to more than 90°C, the Rockwool Group has pub-
bind the ﬁbres we use a urea modiﬁed phenol-formaldehyde lished a material safety data sheet recommending good ven-
compound (also used in chipboard furniture and previously in tilation during the initial heating phase. For instance in power
Bakelite door handles and telephones). plants using industrial insulation around very hot pipes. For
Before the product reaches the customer, the binder has normal temperature use in buildings, no such protective meas-
been cured in an oven at temperatures above 200°C. This ures are needed.
Lowest accident frequency ever
In 2006 the Rockwool Group achieved the lowest frequency
of accidents in its history: 11.5 accidents per million per-
formed work hours, a very low level for an industrial proc-
ess company. This is a 40% drop in ﬁve years, and a 70%
drop in 10 years. Still, every accident is one too many, so the
Group’s Health & Safety organisation will continue to pursue
ever safer work places.
Environment 2007 27
Recycling – from waste to
The EU Environment LIFE programme
supports Rockwool recycling initiatives
Eco-Innovation Less landﬁll waste
Fewer waste disposal sites and less depletion of virgin raw Today, stone wool waste and residue materials from other
materials - for these two reasons the EU Environment LIFE industries are compressed into recycling briquettes that are
programme supports the Rockwool Group’s recycling. Our cu- melted and processed into new stone wool. Three quarters of
pola furnace operates at temperatures of more than 1500°C. the Group’s stone wool waste is recycled - and our recycling
This makes it ideal for substituting virgin raw materials, such is still growing. Waste to landﬁll has decreased by 44% from
as rock and fuel, with waste materials of a suitable chemi- 2002 to 2006.
cal composition: for instance olivine sand, that has been used Stone wool residue is also used in other industries, for
to sand blow vessels or concrete, and some residues from instance as raw material in bricks.
the metal industry. Today, the Rockwool Group turns around
400,000 tonnes of ’waste’ into a valuable resource. In 2006
see the ﬁlm: www.rockwool.com/sw59113.asp
our relative use of residual materials from other industries has
increased by 3% compared to 2002.
The impact of our products
-1 +3 We recycle three times more residue materials from
Rockwool Eco-balance: Recycling other industries than we deposit ourselves
source: Group environment department
stone wool waste to disposal sites
recycling of secondary raw materials
”I would be very pleased to buy
more products that are technically
safe and are environmentally valu-
able, because they are using recy-
cled material, for instance Rock-
Christopher Allen, EU Environment LIFE programme
The Rockwool Group
The Rockwool Group is the world leader in stone wool tech- Made of rock, stone wool is naturally ﬁre resistant. It tolerates
nology. Our Mission is to be our customers’ preferred supplier temperatures of up to 1000°C and is used as vital ﬁre protec-
of products, systems and solutions for improved energy efﬁ- tion in buildings and for marine applications to protect lives
ciency, acoustic performance and ﬁre safety in buildings. and valuable assets.
The Rockwool Group has 70 years of experience. Our Stone wool protects against noise pollution and is used in
8,000 employees in more than 30 countries cater for cus- acoustic ceilings, noise screens, around noisy machines, in
tomers all over the world. In 2006, sales exceeded €1.5 bil- walls and roofs, under ﬂoors and even underneath rail tracks.
lion. Stone wool is also used as a growing medium for vegetables
Stone wool improves the environment and the quality of and ﬂowers, in façade cladding boards, as reinforcement ﬁ-
life for millions of people. This versatile material is used to in- bres in cars and for other industrial purposes.
sulate against loss of heat and cold. By decreasing the need The Group produces stone wool products in 23 factories
to burn fossil fuels, stone wool also reduces air pollution. across Europe, North America and Asia and markets Rock-
wool system solutions worldwide.
The Rockwool Group’s headquarters and factories
Rockwool International A/S
CVR No. 54879415
Tel: +45 46 56 03 00
Fax: +45 46 56 33 11
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Group, (11) Elfer/mauritius images/Polfoto, (12) Klaus Sletting, (13) Socrates/Dreamstime.com, (14 top) Bente Lindegaard/Polfoto, (14 middle) Tristin
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Alamy, (25 below) HRF_photo/Alamy, (26) Rockwool Group, (27) Yanik Chauvin/Dreamstime.com, a.o.
ROCKWOOL®, BUILDDESK®, ROCKFON®, ROCKDELTA® and ROCKDELTA Green Noise Barriers® are registered trademarks of the Rockwool Group.
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