Plastics and the Green Building Revolution
After a few tough years in the home and commercial construction industry, it seems that we are in the middle of the rebirth. According to this report, new housing projects in June 2013 were 10.4% higher than during the same period in 2012, while commercial construction was up 6.2% year-over-year in May. Without question, this kind of fantastic growth is bringing optimism back to the industry. One of the main differences between this construction spurt and previous ones is the focus on sustainability. Thanks to a demand for environmentally-friendly houses and structures and some solid funding opportunities from the EPA, green building is critical part of the latest construction boom.
According to the EPA, green building is “the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.” As we are beginning to see, there are many areas of the building process where sustainability is considered, including aspects of built environment (siting, design, maintenance, deconstruction), environmental effects (waste, air and water pollution, noise), ultimate effects (harm to human health, environmental degradation), and consumption (energy, water, materials).
It is this last category that really interests us at Preferred Plastics. It turns out that plastic is one of the main materials driving the green building movement. Architects and builders focused on sustainability are becoming big fans of PVC, ABS, and polyethylene (just to name a few!). As seen in this virtual tour, the addition of modern plastics allows for an increase in the energy efficiency of both commercial and residential structures. Specifically, plastic in pipes and fittings bring strong thermal conductivity to a project, plastic as a foundation insulation allows for less greenhouse gases and HVAC use, making the project more energy efficient, and plastic pipe radiant floor heating helps with the air circulation and quality.
It’s great to see how plastics are helping to spearhead the green building movement. As plastic suppliers for years, we have known all along how beneficial plastic materials can be to any project—now you can too!