How Green is VERSATEX Trimboard?

What is Green Building?

Green building is an approach to construction that can be applied to public and commercial buildings as well as the houses we live in. It guides every step of design and construction, from choosing a building site to installing a heating system. Green building is alternately described as “sustainable” building, which ultimately is a more accurate way of defining green building. The ultimate goal of a sustainable building is to minimize environmental impact, maximize economic well being, and promote social health to communities and people that inhabit them, while providing beauty, comfort and performance.

Green buildings are as varied as the people who live in them. There is no single template for a green house. However, their designs are based on three broad principles:

  • Energy efficiency - The house uses as little energy as possible. Whenever feasible, renewable forms of energy should be adopted.
  • Conservation of natural resources - This objective recognizes that our resources are finite and should be used thoughtfully. Seen through this lens, durability, low environmental impact and low maintenance all become important attributes for a house.
  • High indoor air quality - Green houses are designed to be healthy houses. Moisture, mold, and radon don’t plague a green home. Building materials, furnishings, paints and finishes should not contribute toxins and irritants to indoor air quality.

Understanding the principles behind sustainable building helps architects, builders and contractors make appropriate decisions about the houses they design, build and renovate.

What determines if a product is “Green” ?

A product is “Green” if it:

  • Principle 1 - Improves the indoor air quality or reduces chemical exposure within a home, thereby improving the health of the people who live or work in it.
  • Principle 2 - Lowers pressure on the environment through the use of materials that are “renewable”, or “sustainably harvested”, or harvested in a manner that does not deplete the source of the material.
  • Principle 3 - Reduces the use of water throughout the home, thereby lowering demands on freshwater sources and the energy intensive infrastructure required to pipe, store and purify it.
  • Principle 4 - Reduces pressure on the waste stream by being made from recycled or recyclable materials.
  • Principle 5 - Reduces the “carbon footprint” of a home. The carbon footprint is CO2 emitted by the energy burned to heat and cool a structure over its lifetime, the CO2 emitted by energy burned to generate power for the home and the CO2 emitted by energy used to manufacture the building components.

VERSATEX is a “Green” building material since it complies with principles #2 (Over 10% recycled content), #4 (Company recycles 98% of all process waste and uses 10% or more pre-consumer recycled content in its products) and, to a lesser extent, #5 (Requires less energy to produce Versatex than many competing products and its light weight makes it easier to transport, therefore reducing its carbon footprint).

What is a LEED?

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

What is Life Cycle Assessment?

“Life Cycle Assessment” is the investigation and valuation of the environmental impact of a given product or service caused or necessitated by its existence.

What is Cradle to Cradle?

Cradle to Cradle Design (sometimes abbreviated C2C) models human industry on nature’s processes in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. It suggests that industry must protect and enrich ecosystems and nature’s biological metabolism while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of organic and synthetic materials. Put simply, it is a holistic economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but essentially waste free.[1] The model in its broadest sense is not limited to industrial design and manufacturing; it can be applied to many different aspects of human civilization such as urban environments, buildings, economics and social systems.

Are there environmental advantages to using VERSATEX PVC trim?

Yes. Lifecycle analysis and independent studies have shown PVC’s environmental impact to be favorable when compared to other materials used for construction. PVC has a low energy demand in manufacturing and longevity in service. Thus, it is a cost effective material both economically and environmentally. PVC can be recycled and can be used in mixed plastic recycling. It can also be safely incinerated.

What are the environmental attributes of VERSATEX PVC trim?

All vinyl scrap generated during our process is recycled back into the finished product.

  • VERSATEX cellular PVC is a “Durable” product that conserves materials and eliminates pollution associated with manufacturing shorter life alternative products.
  • VERSATEX cellular PVC trim does not require the use of paint, stain, or harsh cleansers. Wood trims, on the other hand, do require the use of these products on a regular basis.
  • VERSATEX cellular PVC is lighter to transport than most other building products, reducing the amount of fuel and other resources used for such transportation.
  • VERSATEX cellular PVC saves the environment, since it is a replacement for wood trim; thus, it helps prevent deforestation.
  • The PVC resin used to produce VERSATEX cellular PVC is made from a combination of natural gas, which is a fossil fuel and 57% salt. This is why it is called poly vinyl chloride, since chlorine is 57% of the base component. Most other plastics are 100% hydro-carbon based.
  • The PVC resin used to produce VERSATEX cellular PVC uses less energy in manufacturing than any other plastic material.