There is green and there is sustainable. While there are similarities in the definition, there are some critical differences. While green refers largely to naturally sourced with a smaller carbon footprint and having a minimal environmental impact, sustainable in addition considers product lifecycle, and meeting the economic and social aspirations of present and future generations.
How does that help you choose the right external cladding for your house? There are a few different factors you must consider
- Natural vs. manufactured – Yes, cladding made of wood is more natural, but is sustainable only if sourced responsibly, replacing the forests cut down to make it. Vinyl cladding manufacturing technology has evolved enormously over the years, minimizing damage to the environment.
- Lifecycle – Vinyl cladding lasts much longer than any natural cladding, and just for this reason is favoured by many architects and builders in eco-buildings.
- Lifecycle is a key criterion of a ‘green building’, particularly in public projects which must stand the test of life-span and cost.
- Maintenance – Natural cladding is green only if it is not treated with additional chemicals like paint or termite protection – which is impossible in the construction industry. Vinyl cladding needs no treatment or repeated maintenance, adding to its sustainability score.
- Recycling – Vinyl cladding faced some challenges in responsibly disposing and recycling, but this issue is being addressed by the industry and installers, leading to continuous improvement in recycling. Globally, PVC products are being successfully recycled as raw material for other industries.
- Low cost – The world needs low cost housing solutions. Globally, external vinyl cladding is being used to deliver viable housing alternatives, with low maintenance requirements.Like with a lot of environmental issues, the debate rages on. As a buyer of external cladding you must weigh the pros and cons. External vinyl cladding is considered sustainable by many architects and builders when it is responsibly manufactured and recycled.