A green light for sustainability
“The failure of the Green Homes Grant scheme may have left the industry feeling a little off colour on the subject of sustainability but there is no denying that this is an area that is going to be increasingly high on everyone’s agenda as we emerge from Covid,” says Ian Cocken, Director of Sales and Marketing, aluplast.
“For the past year or so, we have been focusing on how to adapt to the challenges of living and working under lockdown, and to a certain degree, that has meant putting green issues on hold.
“Ultimately, that will only be a temporary measure,” he continues. “Prior to Covid, thanks to the Blue Planet series of documentaries, environmental awareness was really starting to grow. Under lockdown, with many people enjoying a better work life balance by working remotely, it’s actually highlighted that we can embrace a much more sustainable future.
“Companies don’t need to operate the same model that they did just 12 months ago, by running large office buildings and we don’t need to spend so much time in our cars or on public transport – Zoom and Teams have proved that employees can be trusted to perform their role at home. It means that we can all relate much more to living sustainably, and this will put an even greater emphasis on green products and the organisations that can deliver them, when Covid is finally behind us.”
These comments follow a recent consumer survey from Garnier, one of the biggest mass-market brands in the world, that identifies a significant shift towards environmentally focused resolutions in 2021. The ‘One Green Step Report’ reveals that 75% of those surveyed said that they had already started to make changes in their behaviour because of the pandemic. When asked why it would be easier to make a green resolution now than in previous years, 29% said that Covid had made them re-evaluate their priorities – 73% of respondents stated that they want to be more sustainable this year.
And if consumers are now focused on living more sustainably, business will respond in kind. A report commissioned by HSBC has revealed that 86% of companies expect their sales to grow over the next year, from a greater focus on sustainability.
“Research shows that consumers are the strongest driver for construction firms to enhance their sustainability, but it’s also evident that they are prepared to spend more time analysing whether a product is as green as it says it is,” explains Cocken. “Organisations that attempt to tap into this renewed desire to go green, will run the risk of damaging their reputation if they are found to only be paying it lip service.
“Conversely, those that can demonstrate a real commitment to sustainability, are clearly going to be much better placed to benefit in the long run.”
aluplast is leading the way in PVC-U sustainability with its ‘ultra-green’ profile, ecotech, which is supplied as standard across its Ideal70 and Ideal4000 ranges.
Ecotech is produced using two compound screw feeds that push recycled and virgin polymer through the profile dye at the same time. Special attention is paid to the ‘post-production’ recycled material, it is provided from known sources and contains calcium organic stabilisers, which means there is no lead or cadmium.
The high tech, co-extrusion process, which is only available to a select number of system’s companies, also ensures that the recycled material is only used in the internal webbing and remains isolated from the external wall.
“We pelletise the recyclate, so we know exactly what the content is, and how it will affect the performance of the profile,” explains Cocken. “It is one thing to offer a product that it is good for the environment, but consumers will still expect it to work properly! We isolate the recycled content and keep the virgin content for the surface of the profile for a reason, and that’s to guarantee through life performance.
“A perfectly flat, non-pitted surface doesn’t just deliver better aesthetics, delivering a real depth of gloss, but it’s absolutely vital to ensure against the delamination of foils,” he continues. “We now offer 40 foiled finishes, including our next generation aludec and woodec options, and demand for these now accounts for up to 50% of sales.
“Colour and finish are a direct driver of growth at aluplast,” he concludes. “Thanks to the investment we have made in ecotech, we can ensure that this growing trend for higher margin, premium products is fully compatible with anticipated future demand for greener windows and doors.”