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LCA for environmental impact profiles for different EU countries

The challenge

EcoCocon, based in Lithuania, develops prefabricated straw panels that are completely free from harmful chemicals. These panels are designed with a vapor-open system, allowing excess humidity to escape. Strotec first introduced this innovation in the Netherlands. The panels are made from natural materials and are designed to create a balanced indoor climate throughout the year, with consistent temperatures. EcoCocon aims to assess the environmental impact of the panels and create environmental profiles for different European countries.

These straw panels are part of the Natural Pavilion and are a component of the bio-based scaling project by the Housing Construction Workshop. Read more about this collaboration here.

The approach

Hedgehog Company has assessed the product's environmental impact through a life cycle assessment (LCA). We opted for an approach that standardized the environmental profile, making it easy to create profiles for different EU countries. Furthermore, we developed individual environmental profiles for each specific panel type (roof, wall, window sills).

The result

The EcoCocon panel is included in the National Environmental Database (NMD). The Environmental Cost Indicator (ECI), which converts various environmental effects into a single score (expressed in euros), amounts to €3.21 per square meter. This score includes the production phase, transportation of raw materials and the panel itself, transportation to the Netherlands, installation, and waste disposal. Some of the impact is offset by the positive effects of waste disposal, including energy generation from incineration.

Compared to a traditional approach, such as a 140 mm solid load-bearing wall made of hollow concrete blocks with an ECI of €4.27 per m², the EcoCocon panel demonstrates its significant sustainability features.

For the future, EcoCocon is considering establishing a local production location in the Netherlands to further reduce the environmental impact of transportation.

Read more about EcoCocon
"With the rise of industrialization, straw, a centuries-old building material, disappeared. However, EcoCocon and Strotec are harnessing the power of industrialization, making it possible to quickly and easily use prefabricated straw elements to build natural homes."
Philip Kuipers
Co-Founder Hedgehog Company
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