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LCA to compare product environmental profiles

The challenge

ECOR produces sheet material based on cellulose fibers derived from used paper. These ECOR panels can replace traditional materials such as plywood, MDF, and particle board. The panels are free from toxic substances and fully recyclable. ECOR aims to demonstrate and quantify the minimal environmental impact of their products. They recently opened a production facility in the Netherlands and strive to make their production process even more sustainable.

In addition to the standard panels, ECOR has also partnered with Schiphol Airport. They process the mowed grass around Schiphol, which would otherwise be burned, into their panels. This grass is transformed into sheet material and used as interior and flooring elements at Schiphol. ECOR also wanted to demonstrate the environmental impact of these panels and show that this is a more sustainable alternative (compared to burning the grass) or choosing new sheet materials.

The approach

As part of the bio-based scaling project of het Woningbouwatelier in the Natural Pavilion, Hedgehog Company conducted an LCA for the standard ECOR ply 10mm and established an environmental profile. Using the same data, we also did this for the grass panel. A comparison with traditional materials was made, and scenarios were created to demonstrate improvements in the production process that reduce the environmental impact.

The result

The ECOR panel ply 10 mm was subsequently included in the National Environmental Database (NED). ECOR ply 10 mm is one of the three bio-based products listed in the NED-MIA. This means that entrepreneurs can qualify for the Environmental Investment Allowance (MIA) scheme for circular buildings and homes using this product.

For the grass panel, we mapped out the production process and demonstrated that this panel has significantly less impact than alternative building materials currently used at Schiphol.

Both environmental profiles provided us with valuable insights into the environmental impact of the production process. In collaboration with ECOR, we explored possible steps to further reduce the environmental impact. Currently, research is being conducted on how to make the entire production process electrically powered.

Read more about ECOR
"ECOR utilizes recycled materials to create a recyclable product. The National Environmental Database is enriched with another circular product thanks to ECOR's innovation. By including bio-based materials in this database, we can compare the quantified environmental impact with that of other construction products. This provides consumers with insight into the most environmentally friendly options and enables them to make informed choices."
Zoë Tan
Sustainability & Biobased Innovation expert Hedgehog Company


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