Interview with Silvia Herranz, Sustainability and Technical Manager at URSA Insulation
Silvia Herranz, Sustainability and Technical Manager at URSA, highlights the numerous benefits of insulation, encompassing enhanced energy efficiency and diminished environmental emissions.
“We are considering various options for using construction waste even after the demolition of the building”
PhD in Technological Innovation in Building Construction from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Edificación de Madrid (ETSEM) and Technical Architect from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Silvia Herranz is currently Head of Sustainability at URSA Insulation. With an extensive academic background at a national and international level, she holds essential qualifications related to her profession.
Silvia has spent her entire professional career at URSA. In the company, she has held positions of responsibility in technical support services, technical communication, training of the sales network and development of new products.
She has also participated in different Standardisation Committees and other Technical Committees of associations such as ANDIMAT, AECOR, AFELMA, AIPEX or EURIMA.
As the company's head of sustainability, Silvia oversees the objectives and strategies to achieve the greatest possible decarbonisation of the company and the building sector, thanks to our insulating materials.
An expert in the life cycle of materials, today we talk to her about the circularity of insulation products, their recycling and reuse possibilities and her vision of a sector currently strongly marked by the urgent need to renovate millions of buildings throughout Europe.
URSA INSULATION: As experts in mineral wool and extruded polystyrene (XPS), two totally complementary insulation materials that contribute to building thermal and acoustic insulation, what advantages do your products provide to sustainable construction? What solutions does the company provide to improve energy savings and efficiency all year round?
|Silvia Herranz: The advantages of insulating materials, such as our glass mineral wool and extruded polystyrene (XPS), are enormous in terms of energy savings and reduction of polluting emissions. First, however, let's talk about what the citizen perceives most: the savings in their energy bill at the end of the month. We have certified savings of between 50 and 65% after a thorough renovation by installing a sound insulation system.
But beyond energy efficiency, we must remember the healthiness and comfort that we will enjoy in our refurbished homes, which are more than enough reasons to insulate our homes.
Each material has advantages, but, as you say, they are complementary, and each one shows its strength in different applications. In addition, efficiency applies both in winter and summer because insulating materials maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home, leaving the cold and heat outside.
UI: The Next Generation EU recovery funds are an excellent opportunity to boost energy renovation in Spain. How do you think this funding will benefit your sector and your company?
SH: We look forward to seeing how this aid for refurbishment materialises and how the refurbishment files start moving. At URSA, this will be a unique opportunity to renovate our building stock which, as you know, has many deficiencies, especially in terms of insulation.
If everything goes according to plan, this demand boost will significantly impact society, our sector, our company, and the rest of the industry.
UI: In the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, URSA wants to make sustainable production and consumption through efficient use of natural resources and waste treatment. To what extent do your products contain recycled or recyclable materials, and which products stand out?
SH: This is a significant commitment for URSA. All our products contain recycled material. The Distinctive of Environmental Quality certifies that the percentage of recycled material in mineral wool is 50% and XPS is 60%. This is a minimum for the market, but the rates of recycled material are higher. We achieve up to 85% recycled material in mineral wool production and 100% for XPS.
But we are even more ambitious. As part of our ESG programme, we have made public our commitment to never use less than 50% recycled material in the composition of our XPS and to achieve a percentage of 80% for manufacturing mineral wool by 2030.
UI: The company has been focusing a large part of its research efforts for years on closing the life cycle of its insulating materials by recycling and reusing them while at the same time reducing pollutant emissions in production. What circular economy strategies does URSA follow? How do your products contribute to reducing the carbon footprint?
SH: Our primary circular economy measure is precisely this inclusion of more and more recycled material in the composition of the insulation products we manufacture, not only from factory waste and scrap. Also from raw materials from other industries such as the food and automotive sectors (so we also contribute to the end of life of other materials).
We are studying various options for using construction waste even after the demolition of the building. Although we are fortunate that our solutions are so durable that they have the same useful life as the building itself, so there is no need to replace them and destroy waste.
UI: In line with URSA's commitment to sustainability, the circular economy and energy efficiency, what are the following steps to be taken in the short and medium term? What innovations will URSA bring in 2023?
SH: In addition to working on increasingly efficient materials, we are also improving processes so that their manufacture requires the least possible energy consumption and the lowest possible emission of polluting gases. In this regard, we have installed a 3.829 MWp photovoltaic solar park in our Spanish factories, which will produce energy for self-consumption. In total, there are about 7,000 photovoltaic panels of the latest generation will occupy 2.44 hectares and will provide the annual energy equivalent to the consumption of 1,515 homes and will save 1,320 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
As for new developments, we confirm that there will be some and that they will be essential in the market, but you will have to give us a few months to tell you about this important launch.
UI: Intending to improve air quality in enclosed spaces, URSA has launched new Ursa Air mineral wool ducts with the new InCare technology. What does this innovation consist of? What are the benefits of this technology?
SH: InCare technology, applied to the mineral wool panels used in constructing air conditioning ducts, can improve air quality in enclosed spaces.
Among its main benefits, this innovation eliminates up to 99.99 % bacteria faster using a copper ion-based technology applied to the mineral wool panels in air conditioning systems.
In short, this technology brings an extra component of safety and healthiness to our range of URSA AIR ducts. And let's not forget that the panels manufactured with InCare also maintain the traditional advantages of the spectrum: high acoustic absorption, thermal resistance and excellent reaction to fire values.
This interview was originally published by construible.es
- Accelerate Renovation
- Building Renovation
- Circular Economy
- Climate change
- CO2 Reduction
- Deep renovation
- Energy efficiency
- ETEX Group
- Green Deal
- Healthy Buildings
- Healthy homes
- Indoor air quality
- Mineral wool
- renewable energy
- Renovation Wave
- Safe homes
- Safe life
- Safe work
- Thermal insulation
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- United Nations Global Compact
- We are URSA
- We are Xella
- Xella Group
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