Buildings currently waste a large proportion of the energy that goes into them. This energy heats up the earth instead of our homes, wastes money and increases our dependence on foreign energy supply. The estimated 160 million buildings in Europe, for example, account for more than 40% of the European Union’s energy consumption and 36% of our CO2 emissions. Finding ways of lowering the carbon footprint of buildings is therefore all the more vital.
The most important application of polyurethanes in buildings is insulation. Polyurethanes are regarded as an affordable, durable and safe way of reducing carbon emissions that lead to global warming. Polyurethanes can dramatically reduce heat loss in homes and offices in cold weather. During the summer, they play an important role in keeping buildings cool, which means air conditioning is needed less.
Insulation is usually found in:
In practice, good insulation means keeping heat inside in cold climates and outside in warm climates.
In the EU, more than 40% of fossil fuel-based energy, and hence CO2 emissions, is associated with the heating and cooling of buildings. Wider application of existing technology based on rigid polyurethane foam across the EU would reduce overall CO2 emissions by 10%, enabling the EU to meet its Kyoto commitments by 2010.
There are multiple advantages to using polyurethanes in buildings:
More information on how polyurethanes can be used to insulate buildings.
Access a case study on insulation.