Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, says producers of aluminum window systems can make more sustainable products by using insulating profiles made from its EcoPaXX® polyamide 410, a polymer with a bio-based content of 70%. Aluminum window suppliers are looking for new ways to bring more sustainable products to the market, and EcoPaXX provides them with an excellent opportunity to do so.
Aluminum frames incorporate insulating profiles to provide a thermal break between the profiles that eventually become part of the inside and outside of a building respectively. The thermal breaks also contribute to the mechanical integrity of the windows, and so need to be made in high performance materials, currently still mainly polyamide 66. These highly engineered thermal breaks make an important contribution to the energy efficiency of the building.
Buildings now account for over 40% of the world’s energy consumption and are also responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The building sector offers twice as much potential for cutting CO2 emissions as the transport sector. While energy-efficiency of a building in use is the most important aspect of product sustainability, the issue encompasses much more than this. Resource management and the total carbon footprint of individual materials used to construct a building are more and more being taken into account.
Environmental Product Declarations are increasingly influencing architects in their choices of systems. Environmental assessment schemes such as BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, and LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the US Green Building Council, both of which consider the use of sustainable materials used in buildings, are gaining in importance around the world.
“Leading and innovative aluminum window producers want to develop product offerings that not only demonstrate sustainability in the use phase, but also demonstrate sustainability in the materials used to construct their products,” says Caroline Mitterlehner, Global Segment Manager Building and Construction at DSM. “The vision is to move towards the use of materials with a bio-based content and a lower carbon footprint than current products used.”
EcoPaXX answers the increasing need for the use of sustainable raw materials in buildings. Approximately 70% of the polymers building blocks are derived from the castor plant (Ricinus Communis), a renewable resource. EcoPaXX has been proven to be carbon neutral from cradle to gate, meaning that the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated in producing the polymer is completely compensated by the CO2 absorbed during plant growth.
EcoPaXX has numerous advantages over other engineering plastics in insulating profiles, above and beyond those associated with its environmental credentials. Its high melting point of 250°C enables it to pass through the powder coating process in a fully assembled aluminum frame, facilitating the assembly process. EcoPaXX offers excellent hydrolysis and chemical resistance, and offers significantly lower moisture absorption than PA66. Window profiles incorporating EcoPaXX can be designed to conform to requirements laid down in EN14024 standard, which sets requirements for mechanical performance of metal profiles with thermal barrier.
“The use of more materials made from renewable resources in buildings, with a lower carbon footprint than currently used materials, contributes to a more sustainable environment,” adds Caroline Mitterlehner. “The use of materials like EcoPaXX not only contributes to the energy efficiency of buildings in use, but also secures a more sustainable production chain.” This is fully in line with DSM’s strategy to apply its Bright Science for Brighter Living.More information can be found at www.ecopaxx.com.