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PVC-U as part of the sustainability conversation

3 February 2023

 

Martin Benn, Head of New Build at Eurocell, outlines how recycled waste used to produce new high performing, thermally efficient and aesthetically pleasing PVC-U window and door product solutions can support housebuilders as they strive to satisfy new and important environmental responsibilities.

Changes to Part L of the Building Regulations came into effect during 2022. A key objective of the new regulatory landscape is to ensure all new homes will produce 31% lower carbon emissions by incorporating renewable energy technology solutions.

This is a critical step on the journey to net zero and comes ahead of the Future Homes Standard which will be introduced in 2025. At that point, the requirement will be that all new homes are specified and constructed to be highly energy efficient, use low carbon heating solutions, and, ultimately, be zero carbon ready.

Alongside emerging energy efficiency policies and new regulations, pressure also remains on housebuilders to use more sustainable building methods and informed product choices.

 

Consumer sentiment, fuelled by escalating climate concerns, means they are scrutinising businesses more closely than ever when it comes to how they act and operate. As a result, the environmental impact of product choices continues to be a key priority for housebuilders and associated supply chains.

PVC-U is already playing its part in helping the sector meet important environmental and regulatory obligations. Set against other potential product choices such as aluminium or timber composite, PVC-U offers long-term durability and high performance, attractive aesthetics to support design visions, cost effective value and, through important initiatives such as Eurocell’s industry leading recycling processes, a truly sustainable solution.

Compared with alternative choices for windows and doors, PVC-U is proven to deliver an enhanced thermal performance. Combined with effective glazing solutions, buildings can be better insulated and use less energy with PVC-U’s ability to offer a lower u-value for lower cost.

For large scale housebuilding developments, the option to achieve excellent thermal performance results through a cost-efficient product choice without compromise, is a reason why PVC-U solutions containing high levels of recycled content are becoming the proven sustainable product choice for many.

PVC-U validation


To further substantiate the sustainability credentials of PVC-U product solutions, Eurocell worked with the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University to review an array of data sets and modelling emanating from peer-reviewed publications. This would establish a life cycle assessment of the use of recycled PVC-U in the company’s manufacturing operations.
Eurocell requested the scientists interrogate the set estimates for overall CO2 savings that can be achieved from the use of waste PVC-U and determine an accurate statistic to prove the environmental benefit of using waste PVC-U within recycling operations.
Thanks to the validated scrutiny undertaken by the academics, Eurocell is confident that sharing important data and conclusions can better inform and help underpin the sustainability objectives of the housebuilding sector.

Tangible CO2 Savings


For example, a typical semi-detached house comprising seven windows and a pair of French doors will see an average weight of post-consumer PVC-U waste within the eight products plus cavity closure of 122kg. Therefore, a housebuilder constructing on average 2,500 units of semi-detached houses will save around 627 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by specifying recycled windows and cavity closures versus product choices using full virgin PVC-U windows.
Housebuilders have access to high performing, thermally efficient, secure, and aesthetically pleasing PVC-U products.
But crucially, they now also have the verified knowledge that a choice of PVC-U window and door solutions manufactured using recycled material is proven to reduce CO2 emissions, drive efforts to improve the future sustainability of houses and help to tackle the ongoing climate emergency.

If you have any questions or would like more information then please get in contact: Martin Benn, Head of New Build, martin.benn@eurocell.co.uk, 07721 746886

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