Label is scientific proof positive, not just market-driven branding
The new certification by Environmental Choice New Zealand of GreenStuf ceiling insulation pads and blankets brings a wider choice of environmentally-preferable building insulation, according to the ecolabel’s general manager Robin Taylor.
Previously there has been only one product range, Tasman Insulation’s Pink Batts Ultra, that has qualified for the country’s official, government-backed certification.
GreenStuf products are made from thermally bonded polyester fibre by Autex Industries, part of the New Zealand-owned Autex Group, which is the largest polyester insulation manufacturer in Australasia.
According to Autex national sales manager Robert Croot, the insulation offers architects, designers, developers, builders and home owners a high-performance alternative for residential, commercial and industrial applications.
“GreenStuf thermal insulation is a non-irritant, non-toxic and non-allergenic alternative,” he says. There are no chemical binders or retardants added, therefore the products are completely safe — forever.”
The two certified products meet stringent specifications for thermal insulation properties that are laid down by Environmental Choice, and they have been laboratory tested for high thermal resistance, Mr Taylor says.
“When it comes to energy savings, thermal performance is obviously critical to the overall environmental impact of insulating materials.”
He says the environmental trust’s published specification for building insulation requires the percentage of recycled content to be clearly shown on the packaging, giving consumers factual information to help them in their product choice.
He says this demonstrates the unique objectivity, and proof-based robustness of the government’s planet-and-tick ecolabel.
“We don’t just ask manufacturers if they recycle. We get them to prove how well they incorporate recycling and whole life-cycle environmental impact assessment into their products.
“Consumers have to know that when we award the Environmental Choice label it is scientific proof positive, and not just a market-driven branding.”
In the case of Greenstuf, Mr Croot says that, like all Autex Insulation products, it contains previously recycled fibre (from PET plastic), and remains completely recyclable indefinitely.
“Our ECNZ-certified products contain a minimum of 45% previously recycled fibre, and some of our products contain up to 70%. All are manufactured under a zero waste policy where off-cuts and waste are re-processed back into the production process.”
The Autex products are backed by a 50-year manufacturer’s warrantee.
“Autex is committed to sustainability and doing our part to ensure a bright future for New Zealand and our planet,” Mr Croot says.
“Environmental Choice certification of our GreenStuf products is an important first step for formal recognition of the environmental standing of our products.
“We are currently working on further developments that will see the Autex stable of ECNZ-certified insulation products extended to provide even greater choice in the coming months,” he says.
The recent winter chills are a good reminder of the importance of correct installation of insulation products, Mr Taylor says.
“There are several key aspects that determine the overall environmental impact of thermal insulation, and they include comprehensive installation instructions and informative product labelling, correct handling of the product and correct installation.
“The thermal performance of an insulant can be reduced by 50% even if small (5%) gaps result from installation.”