Green Construction: Why Modern Builders Choose Sustainable PVC Pipes

Sustainable construction – or the “green building” movement – has started to gain traction among builders and other construction professionals across the world.

Its primary purpose? To leave a reduced carbon footprint and conserve natural resources when building new structures.

Because of this, many modern designs and technologies that support convenience and promote more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings and houses, as well as cost-effective and low-maintenance solutions, were born.

PVC pipes are among the pioneer materials that support the goals of this movement.

Whether these are used in plumbing, electrical, industrial, or other purposes, plastic pipes, fittings, and tubing have become a prime choice for sustainable construction.

Here, you will learn the five key reasons why modern builders choose PVC for the green building movement.

1. Efficient and Clean Manufacturing

Compared to concrete and iron alternatives, PVC pipe manufacturing is significantly more efficient. Virtually 100 percent of the PVC compound is made in the process, not to mention it takes less energy to make – two times less than iron pipes and four times less than concrete ones. 

More importantly, you’ll find no smokestacks in PVC pipe facilities. Also, the material itself can be recycled completely (more on this later).

All this means that the making of PVC pipes alone comes with a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to other alternatives (especially concrete, since the cement industry is the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter).

2. Recyclability

When it comes to anything plastic, people usually think that it’s not environmentally friendly at all because it is hard to break down. But that’s exactly what makes it eco-friendly.

Given the challenge of proving to people the environmental benefits of PVC, plastic pipe manufacturers have committed themselves to the goal of reusing and recycling plastic pipes. In fact, they’ve been doing so ever since the material was first introduced in the market over 70 years ago.

Most plastic pipes today are recycled into high-quality pipes used for sewage and underground stormwater drainage. Some are even used for cable ducts.

Take note that the recycling process doesn’t compromise the quality of these pipes. Some are either co-extruded as a middle layer of the pipe or mixed with virgin material.

Besides, there are two ways PVC pipes can be recycled, each with its own merits:

Mechanical Recycling

Installation cut-offs, manufacturing waste, and post-consumer PP, PE, and PVC pipes that reached the end of their service life often undergo mechanical recycling.

This process entails washing, grinding, and sorting plastic waste, and reusing in any way possible without changing the material’s basic structure.

In other words, it retains its original composition since there is no chemical reaction involved in the process.

Chemical Recycling

Also called “feedstock,” chemical recycling encompasses technologies that convert plastic waste into useful chemicals through hydrolysis, pyrolysis, and heating.

These serve as feedstock in the chemical industry, coming in the form of calcium chloride, sodium chloride, hydrocarbon products, and heavy metals. These chemicals can be used:

  • To manufacture new PVC
  • As fuel for energy recovery
  • To feed other manufacturing processes

Chemical recycling is the go-to recovery solution for composite pipe waste that is most difficult to recycle.

3. Energy Efficiency

Modern construction projects aim to achieve optimal indoor climate while still reducing energy consumption for cooling or heating. In support of this, newer plastic pipe systems have been developed for better facilitation of renewable resource use and energy efficiency.

So aside from transporting water across the building, these plastic pipe systems also double as a heating mechanism. This tried and tested innovation is also a promising solution to the ever-increasing cooling needs of modern construction to keep up with extreme weather conditions due to climate change.

With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness on the part of the builder, underfloor, wall-embedded, and ceiling pipes in newer buildings can serve both purposes to facilitate efficient use of energy and help save on construction costs at the same time.

4. Fire-Resistance

Some might argue that PVC pipes – or any form of plastic pipes – emit heavy smoke when burned. However, this argument relies solely on the idea that such materials catch fire easily.

But did you know? PVC pipes are considered fire-fighting pipes as well. This is primarily because of the following distinguishing characteristics of this construction material in a fire:

  • Low natural combustibility rate
  • High-temperature requirement to spark ignition
  • Slow flame spread rate
  • Incapability to continue burning without a direct flame source

While PVC will serve as carbon fuel for a fire once it is ignited, pipes made from this material will self-extinguish once the flame source has been removed. This is all thanks to the chlorine present in the PVC.

Plus, there are many additives that individual PVC pipe manufacturers can use to change how the material reacts during a fire, such as fire retardants.

5. Durability and Long Service Life

One of the primary goals of green construction is to use fewer resources, and PVC pipes can help achieve just that.

Besides cost-efficiency, ease of installation, and color-coding advantages, PVC piping also boasts durability and strength. When combined with weather, chemical, and corrosion resistance – plus biological inertness – you’ll get a material that offers effective performance and extended service life.

PVC Pipes Support the Green Movement

Not many know the ecological credentials of PVC pipes. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that these materials have demonstrated their usefulness in the green building movement.Consider the environment when choosing plastic piping for your next project. Let’s talk about what you need and how you can support sustainable construction by choosing Polyfab.


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