Other benefits of having well-insulated buildings include:
• improved indoor comfort levels;
• warmer internal surfaces in winter;
• cooler internal surfaces in summer;
• improved durability of internal finishes; and
• a reduction in the reliance on fossil fuels which contribute to global warming.
Acoustic building insulants are designed to provide additional functions beyond thermal resistance. While thermal insulation may inadvertently reduce noise transmission, acoustic insulation is specifically designed for this purpose. Acoustic insulation is used in residential and commercial spaces. Indoor comfort levels are increased by diminishing penetration of external noise and preventing internal noise from being transmitted to other rooms.
However, the manufacture of insulation products can have negative environmental and social impacts depending on the processes involved. Inappropriate sourcing of raw materials, for example, can lead to the degradation of ecosystems. The use of certain blowing agents can contribute to climate change and ozone depletion. Inefficient use of energy and water during the manufacturing process and sending waste to landfill is environmentally damaging. Some manufacturers may also use hazardous materials and flame retardants linked to adverse health effects.
The standard sets requirements that aim to provide a benefit by:
• avoiding the illegal harvest of wood and fibre for raw materials
• ensuring that sand and rock is not sourced from within a National Park or threatened ecosystem
• setting the amount of recycled content used in the product
• banning chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
• preventing the use of specific hazardous materials and heavy metals such as known carcinogens and mutagens
• prohibiting certain flame retardants
• ensuring workers and suppliers through the supply chain can expect fair pay, equal opportunity, and a safe working environment
This standard applies to the following categories of insulation products:
• resistive-type boards, blankets, batts;
• loose-fill or spray-on thermal insulation; and
• acoustic insulation.
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