MO.2.E || What Gets Measured, Gets Improved – Impact Assessment and Environmental Labeling Along the Production Chain II

Del Rosario, Pamela; Palumbo, Elisabetta; Traverso, Marzia

The building sector plays an important role in addressing pressing environmental issues such as climate change and resource scarcity. So far, significant attention has been directed towards optimizing building energy performance, which is influenced by the building envelope and its elements. For instance, a considerable share of building energy consumption relates to losses through windows. To mitigate this, windows are optimized with higher performing glazing, low emissivity coatings, smart systems, among others, showcasing a strong focus on the use stage. However, to improve their environmental performance, further life cycle stages should be addressed. The aim of this study is to determine the role of embedded and operational impacts in the environmental performance of wooden windows, with particular attention on the product and maintenance stages. To achieve this, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are adopted as source of product-specific data and correlations are made between environmental impacts and aspects such as wood type, frame size, service life, and thermal transmittance. Regarding the operational stage, maintenance scenarios considering the potential climate influence on environmental impacts were analysed using the Italian climate zones. The results showed that both the service life and the window maintenance requirements in terms of treatment and its frequency are highly dependent not only on the wood type and its processing – e.g. type of frame coating – but also on the weather conditions of the place where the window is installed. In fact, it was found that the maintenance-related environmental impacts of windows located in an area with adverse weather conditions were up to three times greater than those of windows in a milder climate zone. Finally, the importance of considering embedded impacts as well as suitable maintenance scenarios to improve the environmental profile of windows is highlighted.