THE TERM SUSTAINABILITY IS ON EVERYONE'S LIPS. BUT WHAT IS MEANT BY
SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS?
Construction products are characterized in particular by a long usage phase. In the case of windows and doors, this is an average of 30–40 years. In addition, the raw material and energy balance in production, quality, energy efficiency in the use phase, as well as the possibility of repair and ultimately the disposal options, also characterize the concept of sustainability. Established concepts exist since many years. These are interlinked and constantly being further developed:
The European VinylPlus®, the European PVC industry’s commitment to sustainable development, has been in existence for more than 20 years. For the next ten years, the European PVC industry committed itself to establishing a circular economy and advancing towards carbon neutrality as targets in addition to PVC recycling. Furthermore, the commitment includes the responsible use of additives, future-oriented recycling technologies and design-for-recycling, to name but a few. By the way: The replacement of lead-based stabilisers was completed on schedule by the end of 2015. System suppliers who consistently implement the programme can demonstrate this with the VinylPlus® Product Label for PVC window systems ___
QUALITY ASSURANCE FOR DURABILITY
Numerous quality-determining characteristics must be fulfilled and are regularly monitored by accredited testing bodies. The requirements relate to material and mechanical properties in order to determine the suitability for long-term durability. In addition to profile systems, insulating glass, fittings, windows and installation are also quality assured. The RAL quality mark for PVC window profile systems is awarded to manufacturers who fulfil defined requirements for long-term usability, healthy living and environmental compatibility. This ensures that no harmful substances enter the interior from quality-assured PVC windows and that attention is paid to environmental compatibility throughout the entire life cycle ___
After an old PVC window is replaced with a new one, the PVC frame can be recycled without any loss of quality. To this end, the PVC is separated from the other frame materials. Subsequently, it is shredded. Pure PVC recycling material remains. This material is used in the new PVC profile as recyclate. Modernization saves twice: energy is saved via the use of efficient windows and raw materials are saved due to the use of recycled old profiles. For window manufacturers and building owners who are planning to replace old PVC windows, there are recycling companies or collection points in the vicinity that take back old windows. Recycling initiatives such as Rewindo (D) and SnEP (F) offer a search function for collection points on their website ___
Through resource-efficient manufacturing processes, the use of renewable energy, energy-saving plans and material-optimized product solutions, European profile manufacturers have reduced their energy requirements and thus lowered the emission of greenhouse gases such as CO2. A study has shown that primary energy demand has been reduced by around 10% in the period 2007–2017. Individual companies were even able to save up to 20% energy ___