Today’s vinyl siding, the most popular choice for exterior cladding in the United States and Canada, delivers environmental benefits to help make and keep homes green. Throughout the processes of manufacturing, installation, life, and disposal vinyl siding scores well on tough environmental measures. Additionally, research shows how insulated vinyl siding contributes to savings in energy consumption, energy costs and CO2 emissions.
Many experts agree that to truly understand a product’s environmental impact, its entire life cycle should be evaluated. Environmental impact associated with a product’s manufacture can be counterbalanced over time by a long, beneficial, low impact life. For example, emissions associated with vinyl window production are far out-weighed by decades of energy-saving benefits.
Vinyl products perform favorably in terms of energy efficiency, thermal-insulating value, low contribution to greenhouse gases, low maintenance and product durability.
Recent life cycle studies show the health and environmental impacts of vinyl building products are comparable to or less than the impacts of most alternatives.
- Vinyl, also known as polyvinyl chloride, starts with two simple building blocks: chlorine (57%) from common salt and ethylene (43%) from natural gas. Used for more than a half century, vinyl is one of the most analyzed and tested materials.
- Vinyl is the most energy efficient major plastic. It is largely derived from salt – an abundant and inexpensive resource. Vinyl products consume less energy, generate fewer emissions and save more energy than many competitive products.
- Vinyl is the most widely used plastic for building and construction. Because it’s strong and resistant to moisture and abrasion, vinyl is ideal for siding, windows, roofing, fencing and decking. Vinyl will not rot or corrode like many other materials and does not need cleaning with harsh chemicals or painting.
- Vinyl’s makeup makes it inherently flame resistant. Rigid vinyl building products are slow to ignite, their flame spread is slow and they cease to burn after the flame source is removed.
- Virtually all scrap and trim material from the vinyl production process is recycled. This means that 99% of all manufactured vinyl is made into new products – not sent to landfills.
- Vinyl won’t harm the atmosphere. Once chlorine is processed into vinyl, it is chemically locked into the product more tightly than it was in salt. When vinyl is recycled, land-filled or disposed of in a modern incinerator, chlorine gas is not released into the atmosphere.