The Lisbon Declaration on Carbon Dioxide Reductions

February 1, 1998

The international insulation industry promotes insulation during the Kyoto climate change conference.

The following paper was submitted in December 1997 by international insulation associations to the Conference of Contracting Parties of the UN International Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan. The insulation associations involved in the presentation were the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, European Insulation Manufacturers Association, Fibreglass and Rockwool Insulation Manufacturers Association of Australia, Asociacion Mexicana de Fabricantes de Aislamientos Termicos y Acusticos de Fibras Minerales, A.C., Canadian Association of Man Made Vitreous Fibre Manufacturers, Glass Fibre Association of Japan, and Rock Wool Industrial Association of Japan.

Since the Second Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) there can no longer be any real doubt about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the global environment. The greenhouse effect, in particular from CO2 emissions, requires urgent action. Space heating and cooling of buildings in both Western Europe and North American are major contributors to CO2 emissions.

One of the most efficient and quickly achievable means of cutting CO2 emissions is to reduce energy use. In the residential and commercial building sector, the most effective energy saving can be accomplished through the use of a readily available energy efficiency technology – thermal insulation. Thermal insulation simply reduces the transfer of heat (and cold) through building structures or envelopes. Thermal insulation not only reduces energy use and therefore CO2 emissions (see tables hereafter) but, in addition, the right insulation products also provide thermal comfort, acoustic insulation and fire protection. The same benefits hold true for the industrial/manufacturing sector.

The following tables give an indication of the massive use of energy for space heating and of its corollary, i.e., the massive potential for savings.

Table 1 summarizes the energy savings already realized in the United States. Table 2 illustrates the potential for reducing carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) if all American homes were to be insulated to the Council of American Building Official’s 1992 Model Energy Code, a recognized minimum energy efficiency code in the United States.

Similarly for Europe, households account for a quarter of the CO2 emissions; with space heating accounting for 60 to 80 percent of emissions. As illustrated in Table 3, there is an annual saving potential of approximately 310 million tons of heating-related CO2 emissions in Europe which could be realized by the application of state-of-the-art thermal insulation.

If one calculates the potential for improved insulation in the buildings sector alone in Europe and the United States, a reduction of 450 million tons of CO2 is attainable on an annual basis.

Additional emissions reductions can also be realized through the use of thermal insulation in Mexico. According to an assessment of industrial savings from insulation conducted by the Mexican Petroleum Institute, the equivalent of 8 million barrels of oil could be saved annually if Mexican industrial plants were insulated according to the existing Industrial Insulation Code. The net result of effective use of thermal insulation in Mexican industrial facilities would be a 2.6 percent reduction in the usage of fossil fuels; in turn, reducing emissions of contaminant gases by 2 million tons per year.

Further significant savings are also evident in the residential and commercial sectors. The Mexican Federation of Engineering Colleges estimated savings in fuel consumption between 5.3 and 13.2 million barrels of oil equivalent, if residential and commercial buildings were insulated as specified in each code as applicable to each building type. This will have the effect of eliminating between 2 and 5 million tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Table 4 (on the facing page) illustrates projected yearly savings based on recommended energy codes in Mexico.

In Australia, households account for 16 percent of all CO2 emissions with space heating/cooling accounting for 25 percent of these emissions. As detailed in Table 5, there exists an annual saving potential of approximately 3 million tons of heating/cooling related CO2 emissions in Australia which could be realized by introducing thermal insulation.

Justification for use of Thermal Insulation

One main advantage of thermal insulation is that it represents proven technology combined with a well-established manufacturing base and sound installation techniques. The use of thermal insulation represents good business practice; and is a prime example of a “no regrets” policy which employs a technology that pays for itself in terms of reduced energy costs and increased environmental benefits. In addition, the benefits from insulation far outweigh the cost of production with a ratio of energy savings to energy investment of 12 to 1 per year. This means that for every Joule or Btu invested in the manufacture of thermal insulation, 12 Joules or Btu in energy saving is realized in every year of service.

Despite the many and considerable benefits that accrue, there are a number of challenges in providing adequate levels of thermal insulation; none of them, however, is of a technical nature. First, many decision makers are poorly informed about the benefits of improved insulation and are thus often short of immediately available funds for capital investment. Second, in many countries, building energy codes or regulations are not efficient and often only apply to a new construction or, in some cases, there are no energy codes at all. Third, building codes are frequently poorly enforced. Finally, most homes represent existing house stock, and insufficient attention is paid to thermal insulation needs when renovating the dwellings.

All these challenges can be remedied by the application of available insulation technology, the implementation of good standards, economic analyses and incentives. The Kyoto Conference can agree on binding commitments by industrialized countries in the following areas:

Quantitative CO2 reductions for the next decade in respect of space heating and cooling;

The establishment of ongoing education campaigns for purchasers of new and existing homes, as well as for the financial community;

The implementation of appropriate building energy codes which recognize the environmental benefits of energy reduction for both new construction and renovation work;

The enforcement of building energy codes;

The provision of tax incentives for energy-efficiency capital investment directed toward first-time home buyers.


The manufacturing and installation processes of insulation are well-known, and require no expensive research. More intensive uses of thermal insulation can begin today, giving immediate and long-lasting results for the entire lifetime of a building. The use of thermal insulation has no negative impact on the competitiveness of national industry. In fact, insulation has a positive effect on the balance of payment.

Financial Implications

The proper use of thermal insulation for new buildings as well as the retrofitting of existing buildings increases their value. As such, thermal insulation represents a capital gain for home or building owners. As for public costs, little is required from the public purse other than tax incentives, which will obviously be limited.

Joint Implementation

High on the agenda for the Kyoto negotiations is the joint implementation of the Treaty. In this respect, the Kyoto Conference presents a valuable opportunity for thermal insulation. The quality of building stock in Central and Eastern Europe is poor, much of which is in need of improvement and considerable renovation. Joint implementation by the EU together with Central and Eastern Europe can be targeted toward thermal insulation with relative ease. Similarly, the opportunity exists for joint implementation by the United States and other nations.

European Insulation Manufacturers Association
375 Avenue Louise
1050 Brussels
Phone: +32.2.626.20.90
Fax: +32.2.626.20.99

North American Insulation Manufacturers Association
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 310
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: +1.703.684.0084
Fax: +1.703.684.0427

Fibreglass and Rockwool Insulation Manufacturers Association of Australia Inc.
Level 12
124 Walker Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
Phone: +
Fax: +61,

Asociacion Mexicana de Febricantes de Aislamientos Termicos y Acusticos de Fibras Minerales, A.C.
Descartes 104
Nueva Anzures 11590
Phone: +
Fax: +

Canadian Association of Man Made Vitreous Fibre Manufacturers
1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1W7
Phone: +1.416.363.7845
Fax: +1.416.369.0515

Glass Fibre Association of Japan
Kitamura Building

17-15 Nishi Shimbashi 1-Chome
MINATO KU – Tokyo 105
Phone: +81.3.3591.5406
Fax: +81.3.3591.5408

Rock Wool Industrial Association of Japan
Tanpei-Nihonbashi Building
7-10 Nihonbashi 3-Chome
CHO-KU – Tokyo 105
Phone: +81.3.5202.1471
Fax: +81.3.5202.1473

For a printed copy of the Lisbon Declaration, contact the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association by mail at 44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 310, Alexandria, VA 22314, by phone at (703) 684-0084, by fax at (703) 684-0427 or at its website at

Moving Forward

By Mike Wildman

The agreement reached in Kyoto to set binding targets and timetables to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a significant step toward addressing global warming. Even President Clinton reinforced the importance of energy efficiency in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reiterated “the commitment of the United States to use the tools of the free market to tackle this difficult problem.”

Now, as the focus shifts toward implementation efforts in this country, as well as around the world, the role of market-based solutions takes on even greater prominence. It is especially important that the significant and immediate contribution of existing technologies, such as thermal insulation, be recognized. In residential and commercial buildings, and industrial applications, adequate use of thermal insulation – a cost-effective, readily available, proven technology that pays for itself by reducing energy costs – can immediately reduce the level of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

NAIMA looks forward to working with those involved in the program and processes aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. As an industry, insulation manufacturers are committed to a more energy-efficient future and to contributing positively to climate change efforts.

Mike Wildman is the chairman of the Commercial and Industrial Committee of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, and he is the marketing manager, industrial/commercial, for Knauf Fiber Glass GmbH, Shelbyville, Ind.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Today

By Kenneth Mentzer

The Lisbon Declaration shows that thermal insulation offers significant savings in the building sector – both residential and commercial. But the energy and environmental benefits don’t stop there. Equally impressive are the energy savings and CO2 emission reductions that can be achieved in the industrial and manufacturing sector through the use of adequate levels of insulation in steam systems.

In the United States, approximately one-third of all fuel burned by industry is used to produce steam. For example, in the United States, a Georgia-Pacific plywood manufacturing facility recently reported phenomenal results from the addition of fiber glass insulation to 1,500 feet of industrial steam lines.

Thanks to the improved insulation of its steam lines, Georgia-Pacific

  • Saves over 7 million Btus per hour.
  • Cut its steam usage by approximately 6,000 pounds an hour, the equivalent of saving 18 hundred tons of fuel per day.
  • Eliminated the outside purchase of fuel altogether.
  • Reduced the amount of CO2 emissions by over 5 percent.

Georgia-Pacific represents just one example of the enormous savings that can result from the use of industrial insulation. This example could be multiplied tens of thousands of times over in manufacturing industries around the world.

Good Business Sense

The value of insulation is clear – appropriate use of thermal insulation means reduced energy use which, in turn, leads to lower operating costs, improved productivity and comfort, and significantly lower air contaminant emissions.

Economically, thermal insulation simply makes good business sense in the building and industrial/manufacturing sector in every way:

The manufacturing and installation processes of insulation are well-known and require no expensive research.

Effective use of insulation can begin today – providing immediate and long-lasting results over its lifetime.

Thermal insulation has no negative impact on the competitiveness of national industry. In fact, by lowering operating costs, insulation enhances competitiveness.

From the point of the individual home or building owners – thermal insulation means money in their pockets. A 1996 study in the United States found the current insulation levels save consumers nearly $84 billion a year in heating and cooling costs – which translates to about $780 per household.

The benefits of insulation also far outweigh the cost of production with a ratio of energy savings to energy investment of 12-to-one per year. That means for every Btu invested in the manufacture of thermal insulation, 12 Btus in energy savings are realized in every year of service.

Clearly, everyone wins with thermal insulation. As a practical energy-efficiency technology that can have a measurable and immediate impact on global climate change, thermal insulation is an available technology offering a solution that must be recognized.

The potential for energy and environmental savings from improved building and industrial insulation must be accomplished. To do otherwise would be to overlook a readily available and cost-effective energy efficient technology that offers immediate return in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Kenneth Mentzer is executive vice president of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, Alexandria, Virginia.