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Enveloping Walls: Ceresana Analyzes the European Market for Insulation Materials

05-08-2024 09:51 PM CET | Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Press release from: Ceresana

Extremely thin and highly insulating, fireproof and light as a feather - are aerogels the insulating materials of the future? They are already available not only for space suits, electric vehicles and batteries, but also for house walls. The nanoporous high-tech materials are usually made from silicon dioxide, but they can also be obtained from biopolymers such as cellulose or lignin. However, the best insulating materials to date are often still too expensive, too energy-intensive and perhaps simply not well-known enough to seriously compete with conventional foams. According to the latest Ceresana study on the European market for insulation materials, which is already the 6th edition, demand for EPS, which is sold under trade names such as Styropor or Airpop, is currently growing in particular. The construction industry in Europe currently uses around 231 million cubic meters of insulating materials per year.

Wide selection of different insulation materials

Today, mineral wool (glass and stone wool) and foamed plastics, i.e. expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), polyurethane (PUR), and polyisocyanurate (PIR), are mainly used for thermal insulation and soundproofing. Synthetic insulation materials made from plastics are produced from crude oil or natural gas and have to be treated with flame retardants, but on the other hand they score points for durability, weather resistance, low weight and, so far, price. Bio-based insulation materials still only make up a small proportion of the total insulation market throughout Europe. However, alternative insulating materials made from renewable raw materials are becoming increasingly popular, for example sheep's wool, cork, hemp, flax, cellulose flakes, coconut or other fibers. Sustainable organic products that are offered with labels such as the German "Blue Angel" or the "Austrian Ecolabel" can also improve the energy balance of buildings. They are compatible with bio-based paints and coatings, bio-adhesives and ecologically beneficial building materials. The fire behavior of natural insulation materials is often more favorable than that of rigid foams, which can burn extremely quickly, dripping and with heavy smoke formation. Furthermore, the utilized types of insulation materials can vary a lot regionally. Ceresana's new market report therefore deals with the specific circumstances and factors in chapters focused on individual countries.

Challenges for the construction industry

Political uncertainty, the end of cheap money, more expensive raw materials, and generally rising costs are causing problems for the construction industry in Europe. Increasingly, real estate and construction companies are having to give up - the spectacular bankruptcy of Signa in Austria is just one example. In many places, the renovation sector is developing more dynamically than new construction because new projects are being abandoned, downsized or postponed. There are major regional differences: In Ireland and Spain, residential construction is still suffering from the consequences of the real estate bubbles burst during the 2008 financial crisis. In Sweden, two thirds of all contracts for new residential buildings were canceled in the first half of 2023, even at the expense of down payments. In Germany, the current federal government set a target of 400,000 new apartments per year - around 225,000 apartments are currently being built. Commercial construction suffers from high vacancy rates in some cases. The continuing trend towards teleworking and online shopping is reducing demand for office and retail properties; on the other hand, more and more warehouse and logistics buildings and data centers are needed. Planned investments in energy efficiency and energy saving give manufacturers and processors of insulation materials hope: The EU Commission wants to mobilize up to EUR 300 billion to make the European Union independent of crude oil and gas from Russia by 2030 and climate-neutral by 2050. The German government wants to boost the flagging construction industry this year with EUR 2 billion in subsidies for "climate-friendly new buildings".

Current market study "Insulation Material - Europe" (6th edition):

Chapter 1 provides a well-founded overview of the entire European market for insulation materials in the construction industry with forecasts up to the year 2032. Clear tables and graphs provide up-to-date market data on the most important types of insulation material: total revenue, production, and demand for EPS, XPS, PUR/PIR, glass wool, stone wool. A separate section deals with the topic of bio-based insulation materials.
Chapter 2 gives a detailed presentation and analysis of the insulation market development in 18 European countries: Demand, revenues, production, and trade of insulation materials are each considered individually. The key figures in millions of cubic meters are shown separately for the various insulation material types. Demand is also broken down into the construction segments: new construction, renovation, residential construction, non-residential construction.
Chapter 3 presents useful company profiles of the largest insulation material manufacturers, clearly arranged according to contact details, revenues, net income, product range, production sites, profile summary, as well as product types and application areas. In-depth profiles of the 54 most important producers are given, for example of BASF SE, BEWI ASA, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A., Covestro AG, Kingspan Group plc, Knauf Insulation GmbH, Recticel NV/SA; Rockwool International A/S, and Sika AG.

Further information about the 6th edition of the market study "Insulation Material - Europe":

Mainaustrasse 34
78464 Konstanz
Press Contact: Martin Ebner,

As one of the world's leading market research institutes, Ceresana specializes in the chemicals, plastics, packaging and industrial goods sectors, with a focus on automotive / mobility. Since 2002, companies have benefited from high-quality industry analyses and forecasts. Over 250 market studies provide more than 10,000 clients around the world with the knowledge base for sustainable success.
More about Ceresana at

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