We found a nice presentation from the FIW Munchen about “Nachhaltig bauen” which I translate as “sustainable building. In this presentation, cellular glass is compared with XPS, PIR, EPS and other thermal insulation materials. However, it is not clear whether this cellular glass is produced with the mold or continuous foaming process.
GLAPOR cellular glass is produced with the ecologic continuous foaming process and is based on recycled waste glass without remelting at 1600°C but directly foamed. Therefore I added the results for GLAPOR PG600 cellular glass in some figures of the presentation.
The primary energy per kg is one method to describe the different thermal insulations like done in the this graph. We observe that almost all thermal insulations have a higher primary energy content, even after correction for density and thermal conductivity. These corrections are done in the following graph.
Another method is the payback in J (energy) and not in €. Indeed, how much years do you have to use the thermal insulation to save the energy which is used for the production. In this method, we observe that cellulose, low density mineral wool and low density EPS are performing better. But in fact, we are comparing products without mechanical stability (mineral wool, cellulose) and with a poor stability ( EPS 15kg/m³ density ) = 60 kPa at 10% deformation with GLAPOR PG600, which is stable for eternity at 200 kPa without deformation. On top of that, GLAPOR cellular glass is absolutely resistant to rodents, which is also a point of sustainability, which is for unknown reasons never discussed in Europe.
From the above graph, I guess that XPS and PU (and so PIR) have only a short future anymore. The long term future is reserved for the mineral thermal insulations. In fact, the world needs more of this kind of work.