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Green Building Plastics Opportunities-Rapidly Coming of Age

SpecialChem / Donald Rosato & Don Rosato – Apr 9, 2012

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) says construction and operation of buildings has a significant impact on the environment. In the US, buildings account for 39% of total US energy consumption and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions. Buildings consume more than 40% of Europe's energy use. Patented technology from Vast Enterprises transforms post-consumer recycled rubber and plastics into naturally appearing, strong, durable environmentally friendly composite masonry. Cobiax Technology’s specialty concrete flooring system uses void forming plastic technology to remove non-working dead load in a concrete slab by up to 35% while maintaining biaxial strength. Thermocore Panel Systems use polyurethane foam with an R-Value of 7.0-7.5 per inch versus expanded polystyrene with an R-Value of 3.5-4.0 per inch.

Adding a layer of Dow Chemical’s specialized acrylic based thermoplastic olefin elastomeric white coating on flat or low-slope roof tops cools the roof, increases heat-reflectivity thus reducing annual air conditioning costs by up to 25%, and decreases annual CO2 emissions. By using Evonik’s proprietary Acrylite Heatstop acrylic sheet in place of traditional acrylic glazing material, average annual air conditioning costs can be reduced by as much as 33%. Specialty BASF Neopor expanded polystyrene used for thermal insulation contains tiny graphite flakes that reflect heat radiation allowing insulating panels to be about 20% thinner than conventional EPS panels. Rehau’s ground loop heat exchange systems are a high efficiency geothermal energy source for home heating and cooling that incorporate advanced high performing components including crosslinked polyethylene pipe, double U-bends and geothermal manifolds.

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