Still think plastic is ‘bad’ because it doesn’t biodegrade? Think again. A lot of plastic based construction materials actually offer a smaller environmental footprint than many traditional materials.
First and foremost, they divert thousands of pounds of waste from landfills every year. Leading the charge is spray-applied polyurethane roofing systems. They can be installed directly to the existing substrate without tear off in 95% of retrofit cases. The original roof stays with the building instead of being thrown away.
SPF roofs withstand severe weather and high wind events and offer a lifespan of 20 years or more. They’re also renewable indefinitely with simple, low-waste recoats.
Then there are exterior insulated finishing systems (EIFS). Use them to restore a failing façade to full (or even improved) performance and you not only retain the materials, embodied energy and carbon footprint of the original structure, you generate almost no waste during the restoration.
Building new? Consider that rigid and spray-applied polyurethane insulation and air barrier materials, as well as traditional and graphite enhanced expandable polystyrene (EPS) insulation materials, are engineered to last the lifetime of the structure. Unless you tear the building down, they should never need to be replaced.
Wall technologies like structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulating concrete forms (ICFs) generate almost no jobsite waste and can accelerate construction times so there’s less waste of manpower on the job.
And all closed-cell foam insulation materials are approved by FEMA for use in flood-prone regions, because they can withstand exposure to flood waters with little more than cosmetic damage. That can save entire structures from being destroyed or thrown away after a storm.
And how about the reduction of wasted energy? These materials offer higher R-values and greater control over air migration to reduce HVAC loads while enhancing occupant comfort. As an added bonus, they also use less energy during manufacture than traditional materials like glass fiber.
In fact, BASF’s groundbreaking Carbon Balance 3:1 report showed that the use of BASF insulation materials around the world more than compensates for the company’s total carbon footprint from production and operations. They save that much energy.
Advances in research and development are also bringing new products with increased levels of recycled material and rapidly renewable content to the market, making plastic based construction products an even smarter choice.
Click here to learn more.