Efficient Use of Materials for Sustainability and Environmental BenefitsFebruary 16, 2017
In the sealants and adhesives industry, strong products deliver superior bonds. Meanwhile, a developing sustainability initiative is addressing other vital issues, problems that go beyond cohesion strength. The goal of this action is to reduce the large environmental footprint we associate with the construction industry. Sealant compound designs already conform to this Green ideology. Can the same thing be said for building material usage?
Following the Sustainable Chain
The construction materials used in a new building project have to come from somewhere, right? If the resource is lumber or plastic, the sourced material is wood from a forest and hydrocarbons from oil. A massive apartment complex eats up these building supplies. Wait a moment, though, are these materials being replaced? In the case of wood, the answer is yes, but slowly. Plastic products are another matter entirely. New production technologies are coming along to replace crude oil, but, again, ever so slowly.
Sealants Exhibit Environmental Benefits
Eco-friendly adhesives are already dismissing solvents in favour of a water-based solution. These second-generation adhesives cure faster, don’t yellow over time, and there are no harmful emissions to worry about during application. These are the direct environmental benefits, but there’s a second set of material advantages at work. Primarily, the adhesives reduce energy consumption after the project is constructed. The occupants have moved in, the heaters and AC systems are active, and that Green sealant mix has moved from the construction footprint to the everyday carbon footprint. Effectively, the structure is there for the long-run. The sealants and glues bind wall surfaces and lumber joints, even when the lumber contract and expands. This elasticity modulus assures building longevity, so sustainability is preserved.
Traditional fasteners are powerful anchors in the building trade, but their inflexible nature has cast a question mark over these metal screws and nails. Meanwhile, eco-adhesives, each equipped with a strong water-base, are taking over. Adaptable by design, the Green chemical compounds support the sustainability model by conforming to structural joints, occupying leakage-prone cracks, and basically supporting the materials so that they last.
When constructing a large building ten or even twenty years ago, sealants and adhesives were regarded as an afterthought, a product that reinforced what had already been assembled. Today’s sealants are literally the liquid cement that hold structures together. Far from being an afterthought, these fast-curing products support the sustainability model and add environmental benefits to the project by being part of that project from the beginning.
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