Potential Effects of New Products in Buildings

Michael Sailer, Mieke Oostra

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


The actual non-sustainable way of living has to be changed fundamentally. Despite all efforts to create a better environment, to improve building designs and to ameliorate existing buildings, often contradictory factors are faced which make it difficult to decide what the best solutions are.
The discussion around the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) house insulation is a typical example how complicated the relation between, energy efficiency, human comfort and health can be. Clearly positive effects like energy efficiency are sometimes associated with e.g. potential flaws in aesthetics caused by growth of algae, poor indoor climate, and health risks which can result in negative responses of residents when implementation of these measures is proposed. Therefore often substances are added which may cause implications with existing regulations if reused again. Smart and highly efficient products are often in contradiction with our aims to create a circular economy due to the fact that different materials are often treated with chemicals or put together in infrangible combinations. The aim of this paper is to highlight the balancing act being faced when trying to introduce new more sustainable materials and methods into the building process. Based on some examples the paper want to demonstrate that principally good intentions like improved energy savings can cause problems in other fields like environmental impact or limited re-use in a circular economy. Basic problems are described and potential approaches to minimize the risk of using building materials which might not meet the requirements for reuse in a second use phase are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2017
EventSustainable Housing LAB Conference 2017 - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 15 Dec 201617 Dec 2016


ConferenceSustainable Housing LAB Conference 2017
Internet address


  • New Building Products
  • Circular Economy
  • Expanded Polystyrene
  • EPS
  • Fire Retardant
  • Decision Instrument DIOR


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