The health and environmental aspects of vinyl have been more closely examined than those of any other plastic or polymer. Several industries and organizations have commissioned a range of life cycle assessments based on various applications. Consensus is that vinyl performs consistently with other polymers and natural materials with respect to environmental and sustainable criteria.
A U.S. Green Building Council PVC Task Group, in February 2007, stated, "No single material shows up as the best across all human and environmental impact categories, nor as the worst." Also, a 2001 Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) study in the UK, and a 2004 European Commission study demonstrated that PVC was no more environmentally unacceptable than the alternatives. Vinyl windows, doors and skylights provide years of performance scoring favorably in life cycle assessments.
Since the first vinyl windows were introduced to North America in the early 1950s, vinyl has continued to gain market share due to desirable physical properties and design versatility. Vinyl windows offer a unique blend of energy efficiency, ease of maintenance and low cost. Today vinyl windows account for 67% of residential window shipments in the U.S., 27.8 million windows in 2010.
The facts about today's vinyl
Vinyl is composed of ingredients from nature; chlorine, based on common salt, and ethylene from natural gas. By employing further chemistry, vinyl can be made flexible, rigid or semi-rigid; clear or colorful; thick or thin. Part of the beauty of affordable, energy efficient, versatile vinyl is that it can literally last a lifetime. With long life cycles and natural fire resistance, it's highly sustainable. No wonder vinyl is a major component of products used for residential and commercial construction, wire and cable, consumer items and healthcare.
Look around. You'll see that vinyl is very much a part of your world today ... no matter where you live or what you do. Vinyl has a proud and rich history of providing solutions to society's needs.
Safer water supplies and sustainable building products are vinyl:
Do you prefer clear, fresh water over rusty, contaminated water? When it comes to water, the choice is clear. Thanks to vinyl, tough, durable pipes provide safe and reliable water supplies. Vinyl pipes used for infrastructure have been in use for over 30 years and show no signs of degradation.
• Building products like siding, moulding, decking, windows, doors and skylights use vinyl for its toughness, superior weathering properties and flame resistance. The NAHB has cited "Lifetime" as the expected life expectancy of vinyl siding on a home.
• Some windows and siding have been in use for more than 40 years.
• The auto industry uses vinyl for instrument panels and door panel coverings.
• Other contributions include shatter-resistant clear containers, collection of blood in vinyl blood bags and food packaging and safe storage.
For more info please download the Sustainable Vinyl PDF
2010 - 2012 Forecast
(millions of units)