Issue Date: January 12, 2009
I READ WITH BOTH anticipated interest and disappointment the articles on high-performance buildings and green materials report cards (C&EN, Nov. 17, 2008, pages 15 and 24). Most definitely materials are available that allow for vastly improved energy conservation, but to leave the impression that they cost only an additional 3–5% is poor reporting.
For the sake of brevity, just review the cost of the Sage window versus standard clear glass or a sealed insulating glass unit (IGU) using even low-E coatings, films, and inert gasses. I know well the specifics of this cost comparison.
A second issue is allowing eco-political bias to cloud use of the rigid PVC building product. Rigid PVC does not contain volatile additives and is a cost-effective, energy-saving, recyclable, durable material. Several research reports state that rigid PVC is not more hazardous than the alternatives and may be better than many other plastics. It is true that flexible PVC products with associated potentially hazardous plasticizers may be an issue. I believe they are, but only because of the plasticizers being used. As a chemical information source, C&EN needs to educate, not promote opinion—and in some cases, unfounded opinions.
Beaver Falls, Pa.
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