SUSTAINABILITY OF RENOLIT ALKORPLAN ROOFING MEMBRANES
The range of RENOLIT ALKORPLAN roofing products is well known on the market for its durability, reliability and versatility. Maybe, it is not so well known that they represent also an extremely sustainable solution.
In comparison with other plastic raw materials (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene) PVC has one of the lowest energetic costs for the production (source: Plastics Europe).
The lawmakers are correctly planning the ban or the reduction of consumption of the single use plastics. Durability is in fact the first criteria to evaluate how sustainable a product is: the longer the lifespan, the lower the environmental footprint, because it reduces all the impacts needed for the production of new goods and the related replacement.
Being a longterm application, synthetic roof waterproofing is therefore not concerned. The longevity of PVC-P roof waterproofing membranes combined with easy recycling possibilities, and the fact that the basic raw material PVC is made by 57% of normal salt (a resource having huge reserves and the extraction of which has a very light footprint) , make it one of the most sustainable products ever. In a PVC-P roofing membrane the raw materials coming from crude oil are limited, unlike many competitive products.
Moreover, it is the perfect solution for the new challenges that the building sector is going to face.
The UN and other similar entities expect that cities in the fast developing countries will grow enormously in the coming decades. This because of people moving from rural areas towards working center, on one hand, and because of demographical increase, on the other hand. By 2050 half of humanity will be living in the cities. This represents a huge challenge for administrators who will need to be able to provide houses and infrastructures that are reliable, durable, cost effective and low-impact. In addition to that, the building sector is responsible for 40% of the energy consumption. All the players of the building sector should therefore assume the responsibility for that.
According to this context, the technical solution provided by the RENOLIT roofing membranes is the right choice.
The opportunity to create green roofs, cool roofs, cool colour roofs or ballasted roofs that can be further living spaces, will be more and more requested.
In the low growing continents like Europe, on the contrary, the goals are to have a zero impact building sector by 2050. Since many years now, local, national and European politics is pushing towards the principles of circular economy.
The RENOLIT ALKORPLAN range in its different versions is the ideal solution for both geographical zones.
That’s why the RENOLIT ALKORPLAN roofing membranes contribute to the sustainable rating systems like LEED, BREEAM and VERDE.
Let's go further in detail.
DECREASE OF THE “HEAT ISLAND EFFECT”
Urban areas are sadly known for generating temperatures of some degrees higher than natural areas. This occurs due to the large exposed surface and the type of material used in these constructions. The increase of heat can lead to higher inside temperature that makes people use air conditioning systems, thus increasing the energy demand that is responsible for the consumption of many resources and for the high emissions of CO2.
To fight this phenomenon adapted thermal insulation is needed, that can be combined with highly reflective white colours of exposed building materials. The SRI (Solar Reflectance Index) value combines the capacities of materials to reflect the heat and the solar rays (respectively called emissivity and reflectivity).
RENOLIT ALKORBRIGHT is the cool roof membrane with the highest SRI listed in the CRRC: 115. In order to keep it that high, yearly maintenance and cleaning are necessary. The special coating on the RENOLIT ALKORBRIGHT membrane makes the cleaning process easier and therefore quicker. While a traditional black roof in summertime can reach 80-85º C, with RENOLIT ALKORBRIGHT temperatures will never pass 40-45º C. This means that no other product can decrease the temperatures as RENOLIT ALKORBRIGHT does.
RENOLIT ALKORSMART is the cool colour roof solution for all those cases in which a white roof cannot be installed but also those areas with high UV radiation. Thanks to the special SST (Solar Shield Technology) coating, RENOLIT ALKORSMART has a much higher SRI value than a standard product with similar colour: 62.8 for the Cool Grey version and 82.5 for the Cool Ivory version.
RENOLIT ALKORGREEN is the most common solution to fight against the “heat island” effect by creating green areas. Plants neutralize carbon dioxide (CO2) through photosynthesis which will improve the air quality.
More traditional solutions come from the ballasted roof where an ALKORPLAN L has been applied. The same product can be used to obtain an innovative solution that allows you to obtain a cool roof, the so-called “blue roof”, that is those roofs where a big amount of water is stocked.
One of the easiest ways to decrease the environmental impact is to develop products providing higher performance using at the same time less resources.
RENOLIT ALKORSMART, for exemple, with only a single layer of 1.2 mm thickness, thanks to the Solar Shield Technology, provides an increased UV resistance and a longevity never achieved before.
All products of the RENOLIT ALKORPLAN range contain a high quantity of raw materials coming from production waste originated within the RENOLIT group, by a variable percentage up to about 50%.
Moreover, RENOLIT is co-founder and one of the key players of the ROOFCOLLECT programme within the VinylPlus project, that associates the European PVC producers in the management of the recycling of building materials made of PVC and particularly of the synthetic membranes.
The internal recycling rate is progressively increasing as our goals are:
- Minimize the amount of waste in our production process
- Maximize the use of waste from our production process
- Maximize the use of building site waste of our products, not necessarily in our own products
- Maximize the use of end-of-life products, not necessarily in our own products
All the wood used for the packaging and the transport of the RENOLIT membranes is provided by a supplier selected for its checking system of the safeguard chain of forestal products (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) Nº PEFC/14-35-00391.
The protective foils and the application waste are also separable and recyclable.
All the suppliers of RENOLIT have to respect the workers’ rights, the environment and the areas with high ecological value.
THE PLANT, THE PRODUCTION PROCESS AND TRANSPORT
The production plant of the RENOLIT ALKORPLAN membranes is located in Sant Celoni, north of Barcelona, in Spain. The plant works according to an Environmental Management System (EMAS) certified by an independent third party for the production. All raw materials used are widely accepted by the legislation in force. The production process of the RENOLIT ALKORPLAN membranes complies with all existing health and safety regulations.
Moreover, the Sant Celoni plant has been a pioneer in the treatment of the so-called “Volatile Organic Compounds” (VOC) thanks to the “Life environment programme” of the European Commission. A pilot plant has been installed to test an innovative technology that allows to reduce the VOC emissions to a negligible rate, much lower than the law limits. RENOLIT Ibérica was awarded in 2006 for this outstanding volunteer project.
RENOLIT gives priority to raw materials coming from local providers.
To deliver the rolls to the jobsites, a supplier engaged in the decrease of CO2 emissions has been chosen. The EPD based on the LCA shows that the transport phase has a negligible impact, also thanks to the low thickness and the limited weight of the membranes.
Being a lightweight membrane with a very low thickness, the RENOLIT ALKORPLAN roofing membrane is totally efficient:
- High yield
- Less resources for transport
- Less resources for handling material on the jobsite
- Less CO2 emissions due to transport
- Less resources for the installation
RENOLIT ALKORPLAN roofing membranes are 100% recyclable. By the way, RENOLIT has been one of the founders of the VinylPlus project together with the European Single Ply Waterproofing Association. This volunteer project, often quoted both by European lawmakers and UN representatives as a best practice, is engaged in recollecting and recycling the post-consumer PVC coming from the building sector. The goal is to obtain new products with performance equivalent to the original ones, without having to extract new raw materials causing a high environmental impact.
IMPACT OF BUILDING MATERIALS
To allow an objective comparison of the environmental footprint of the buildings, a standard has been developed. This takes into account all the phases of the building products lifecycle (from the extraction of raw materials to their processing, from the transport to their service life) according to the “Life Cycle Assessment” concept, made standard by the ISO 14025, 14040 and 14044, that may includes all the steps from cradle to grave.
This is the case of RENOLIT ALKORPLAN roofing membranes, that opted for an EPD cradle to gate with options and a D module.The Life Cycle Assessment, expressed through the EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), realized according to the ISO 14025 and EN 15804, underlays how the products in the RENOLIT ALKORPLAN range have a limited environmental footprint. The EPDs are available on demand.
A very important relevance has the average service life of the product: the longer the lifespan of the membrane, the lower its environmental footprint, because it reduces all the operations needed for the production of new membranes and the related replacement on the roofs. Also the recycling of exhausted membranes is extremely positive, because it avoids their disposal in the landfills and turns them into new raw materials. The recycling process of PVC, among other things, is so fine-tuned that it can give excellent results of upcycling. In our production plant in Sant Celoni, a good percentage of the workforce is employed in the recycling process.
RESTORATION OF THE NATURAL HABITAT AND MANAGEMENT OF RAINFALLS
New buildings are responsible for the concreting of natural areas, thus stealing vital space to animals and plants. Opting for a green roof means recreating a natural area for the good of each and everyone, compensating partially the one destroyed.
REUSE OF RAINWATER
Unlike other roofing products that change the pH of water and/or release toxic components, the PVC membranes allow you to reuse the rainwater for irrigation. The pH changes in a negligible way, while the chemical oxygen demand (also called COD) after a few raincycles is stable and does not affect the quality of water.
This opportunity is especially appreciable in those geographical areas where the water provision is a critical issue, but it is a responsible act to be considered anyway, as the water will be more and more a scarce resource.