Environmental impacts of agro-sourced materials compared to traditional materials into building
Building sector is undergoing a revolution with the development of innovative techniques and materials which significantly improved the performance of buildings. Insulation and concrete based on agro-sourced aggregates have been developed and marketed for several years now, posing as "eco-materials" and judged with less impacts to the environment than their "conventional" counterparts. Many Life Cycle Assessments of these kind of products has been made, showing in many cases, with an equivalent functional unit, an environmental benefit for the agro-sourced materials. This raises the question of the real environmental benefits of using these innovative agro-sourced materials, not more simple comparison with conventional products, but across the full life cycle of the building. Therefore, this article proposes to model a type reference building constructed two radically different ways : one with conventional building products, that is to say materials with mineral and petrochemical base and another one with integrating the maximum agro-sourced materials currently available on the market (insulation, concrete, block, glue, etc.). The objective is to conduct a comparative study analyse and interpreting differences in results between the two models. The findings of this study show significant differences in terms of overall impact on the entire life cycle of buildings. A zoom on the "Products and Equipment" section allows to be aware of the benefits of using these kind of materials. This result suggests also imply, in the case of renovation, the use of agro-based materials is very favourable to environmental assessment as mainly based on the replacement of materials.