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Launching EPDs for key U SeaProtect® products

Leading the wave of sustainability in shipbuilding!

Big news! We've just launched 12 new Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for our top products in the U SeaProtect® range for Marine & Offshore – a major milestone in our commitment to sustainability.

EPDs are a testament to our dedication to environmental responsibility and transparency. These declarations provide valuable insights into the environmental impact of our products across their entire life cycle, empowering our customers to make informed decisions in line with their sustainability goals.
In an industry as vital as shipbuilding, sustainability has become an absolute necessity. With the global focus on reducing carbon footprints and protecting our oceans, the demand for sustainable solutions in marine construction is reaching an unprecedented level. As pioneers in this field, we recognize the crucial role we play in shaping the future of shipbuilding.

 

Which U SeaProtect® products have an EPD?

We carefully selected 12 products from our U SeaProtect® range to be covered by EPDs, based on several key criteria. These products not only represent our best-selling references, but they were strategically chosen to address a wide range of insulation needs on typical passenger vessels. From fire protection to thermo-acoustic comfort and energy savings, our selected products meet various requirements across both steel and aluminum divisions. By focusing on these products, we ensure that our EPDs provide comprehensive insights into the environmental impact of our most widely used insulation solutions in the shipbuilding sector, empowering our customers to make informed decisions that align with their sustainability goals.

 

U SeaProtect® 36 Roll Alu1 U SeaProtect® 24 Roll Alu1 U SeaProtect® 13 Roll Alu1 U SeaProtect® 46 Roll Alu1
U SeaProtect® 36 Roll G220 U SeaProtect® 24 Roll G220 U SeaProtect® 76 Slab Alu1 U SeaProtect® 66 Slab G220
U SeaProtect® 76 Slab G220 U SeaProtect® 50 Roll Alu1 U SeaProtect® 66 Slab Alu1 U SeaProtect® 66 Slab Alu1

 

How to read U SeaProtect® EPDs

To fully understand Environmental Product Declarations, several key criteria are important. These encompass Product Category Rules (PCR), aligning products with similar functions and technical performances, system boundaries, clear data description, and quality standards. Additionally, consistent data collection and allocation methods, as well as adherence to cut-off rules and impact assessment methods, are vital.


The functional Unit, the basis for calculation

Understanding the functional unit of our products, used as a basis for all calculations within the EPD, is crucial for interpreting data accurately. Essentially, the functional unit describes the primary function of the product. 
For U SeaProtect®, the functional unit describes a specific thermal resistance in K.m2.W-1  per 1 m² of mineral wool at a given thickness and for a specific life span

  • Example: The functional unit of U SeaProtect® Slab 66 Alu1 30mm, is the thermal resistance of 0.968 K.m2.W-1 for 1 m² of product over a span of 30 years.

 

The product description

The EPDs outline the environmental impacts of 1 square meter of mineral wool (e.g. U SeaProtect® Slab 66 Alu1 30mm). Each EPD applies to a specific product reference from a single manufacturing plant.
The purpose of the products is described as providing high-performance thermal, acoustic, and fire protection insulation for shipbuilding. They are primarily used for fire-rated divisions, offering safety, comfort, and ease of handling.
Additionally, this section includes technical data, product components, and packaging materials descriptions.

 

Did you know? 

Our U SeaProtect EPDs are based on “PCR 2019:14 version 1.3.2 for construction products” and its complementary PCR (c-PCR-005), 2019-12-20 for thermal insulation products (EN 16783:2017), as there is currently no PCR specific for insulation products used in shipbuilding.

LCA calculation information

The LCAs of our U SeaProtect® products are cradle-to-grave analyzes including Module D, covering their entire life cycle, from production to disposal, over a reference lifespan of 30 years.
This reference lifespan corresponds to the standard service life of ships, and for which our products last without the need for refurbishment. The functional unit is 1 m² of product with a given thermal resistance and a specific thickness. 
The geographical scope is Europe, using data from our Lübz plant in Germany for the year 2022. 

 

U SeaProtect® LCA scope and system boundaries

 

EPD Marine product 2
Life cycle stages 5

 

A1-A3, Product stage

 

  • A1, Raw materials supply: This module takes into account the extraction and transformation of all raw materials and energies which occur upstream of the manufacturing process studied. More specifically, the supply of raw materials covers the production of binder components and the supply (quarry) of raw materials for the production of fibers for mineral wool. Besides these raw materials, recycled materials (agglomerates) are also used as input.
  • A2, Transport to the manufacturer: The raw materials are transported to the manufacturing site. In our case, the modeling includes transport by road, sea and rail (average values) of each raw material.
  • A3, Manufacturing: This module includes the manufacturing of the product and packaging. Concretely, it covers the manufacture of resin, the fusion of mineral wool, fiberizing, drying, cutting, and packaging. It also includes emissions and waste generated during manufacturing.

 

A4-A5, Construction process stage

 The construction process is divided into 2 modules: 

  • A4, transport to the shipyard
  • A5, installation during shipbuilding

Since there is a certain percentage of product loss during installation, the quantification of the raw material compensation (A5) and its transport to the construction site (A4) are taken into account.

 

B1-B7, Use stage

The use stage is divided into the following modules: 

  • B1: Use 
  • B2: Maintenance 
  • B3: Repair 
  • B4: Replacement 
  • B5: Refurbishment 
  • B6: Operational energy use 
  • B7: Operational water use 

Since the products have a reference service life of 30 years, it is assumed that they will remain in place without requiring maintenance, repair, replacement, or refurbishment for this entire period.

This is why thee is no impact at this stage.

 

Did you know? 

The potential savings generated by our products during their use (HVAC energy, fuel, etc.) are not taken into account in the EPDs.

C1-C4, End-of-life stage


This stage includes the next modules:

  • C1, Deconstruction, dismantling: The insulation products are dismantled manually during the deconstruction of the entire ship.
  • C2, Transport to waste processing: The model used for transport (see A4, transport to the shipyard) is applied. 
  • C3, Waste processing for reuse, recovery and/or recycling: The product is considered landfilled without reuse, recovery, or recycling. 
  • C4, Disposal: Mineral wool is assumed to be 100% landfilled.


D, Reuse/recovery/recycling potential

100% of waste is landfilled. There is no reuse, recovery or recycling of this product. Therefore, no recycling benefits are reported in step D.
 

Did you know? 

At the local level, there are actions to recover and re-use waste plastic films and wooden pallets generated during the installation of products.

Comparative analysis of U SeaProtect® EPDs

Comparative analysis of EPDs within the same product category makes it possible to effectively assess relative environmental performance. Nevertheless, comparing EPDs is not easy and can lead to interpretation errors as not all EPDs meet the same key factors.
At Saint-Gobain Technical Insulation, we prioritize EPDs that are very precise and representative of the specific context in which our products are used, in this case in marine and offshore. To do this, we have developed specific EPDs per product, adapting all data and measurements to the marine environment. By focusing our EPDs solely on shipbuilding, we provide detailed, context-specific information that truly reflects the environmental impact and performance of our products in their intended setting.

 

Potential differences in the scope of EPDs

When comparing U SeaProtect® EPDs with those of competitors, several differences emerge:

  • Product EPDs may be covered under different EPD programs and standards, with U SeaProtect® operated under EPD International AB, and following EN 15804:2012 + A2:2019/AC:2021. U SeaProtect® data is very recent, collected in 2022, whereas data from competition can be older. 
  • The geographical context is also important, as environmental impacts can vary based on location-specific factors such as energy sources and transportation distances. U SeaProtect® targets the broader European market, while competitors may focus on more regional markets.
  • When comparing EPDs, it is also important to ensure that they are based on the same functional units and cover the same life cycle stages and system boundaries. For U SeaProtect®, we assumed a 30-year lifespan, which matches the realistic lifespan of a ship. Some competitors, on the contrary, assume longer lifespans, which directly affects performance measurements.
  • Finally, it is important to consider the type of EPD (product specific, generic, multiple-product, industrial EPD...). While the EPDs for U SeaProtect® are product and marine context specific, some competitors use more generic EPDs that cover entire product ranges or multiple applications, such as both marine and building uses. 

By considering these factors, fair and accurate comparisons can be made, supporting better decision-making and sustainable practices.