Why uPVC

-Glass;
*Up to 87% of heat gain and up to 49% of heat loss occurs through windows. This means that homes with single glazing use up to a staggering 60% more energy to heat & cool.

*Double glazing can significantly reduce the amount of heat & sound that travels through windows & combined with a thermally broken frame such as uPVC & a glass coating like low-E or a laminate like Lam-Hush we can improve this performance even further.

*One important factor central to the inside temperature of a house is its windows. Windows are a major cause of unwanted heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. According to Your Home, up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through windows. Therefore, reducing temperature fluctuation through windows is crucial to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions – double glazing can do just this.

-What is uPVC?;
Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride also commonly referred to as UPVC, uPVC, PVCU or PVC-U is a highly regarded piping system that is suitable within the water treatment, chemical processing & similar industries.

UPVC is an extremely versatile product that has uses ranging from drinking water to highly corrosive chemical applications. The product contains UV stabilising additives & thermal properties which ensure that it is suitable for both interior & exterior environments. It has a smooth texture.

-Health;
*Manufacturers & processors of uPVC are constantly being queried about the risks to health. During the course of its history, this material has certainly given cause for concern. The industry has learned from experience & together with the authorities, has introduced preventative measures to eliminate every conceivable risk. Today it can be stated that where up-to-date technology is being used, the handling of uPVC is absolutely safe.

Up to the beginning of the seventies, the gaseous, monomeric vinyl chloride (VC) was a negative aspect in the production of uPVC, which led to illness. Simultaneously, there was the suspicion that uPVC end products might also , under adverse circumstances, emit the remaining VC.

This problem has been solved. The measures introduced to improve technical industrial production & working hygiene have led to the disappearance of this critical substance. The limits of the technical standards of concentration demonstrate the advances that have been achieved; a reduction from 500ppm in 1970 to 2ppm in 1977. This corresponds to a remaining concentration of 0.0001% in the uPVC powder. This has made the processing of uPVC completely hazard free. The industry is free of dust & fumes, enjoys high technical standards & is automated to a large degree. There are no recognizable risks to health at any point in the production process.

That which applies to a uPVC powder also applies to the additives & the end product. Everything which is added to the uPVC is subject to strict regulations. When, a number of years ago, the adverse effects of the heavy metals were discovered the stabilizers containing cadmium were checked & readjusted. The window profiles are now manufactured without cadmium.

uPVC has every reason to worry about its reputation, as it is used in areas where hazards are absolutely unacceptable – in the medical industry & as packaging for food.

The fact that uPVC is absolutely safe was demonstrated in an impressive way when a model house for allergetics & asthmatics was presented by medical & technical experts. This house had to be free of all irritants. uPVC was the chosen material for the windows.

-Why uPVC;
*Eco-friendly
Environmentally friendly & sustainable.
*Fully welded joints
Fusion welded frames & sashes afford excellent weather resistance. Aesthetically clean – free of screws or rivets.
*Twin compression seals
Enhanced seal against air, water, sound with thermal insulation which exceed the requirements of Australian Standards.
*Pressure rating of up to 16 bar (1600 kpa).
*Free from toxicity, odours & tastes & it conforms to NSF International Standard 61.
*Highly resilient, tough & durable with high tensile & impact strength.
*Excellent corrosion resistance and doesn’t scale, pit or rust.

*Glazing options;
Double glazed which fits many thick laminate glasses to achieve high insulation against temperature & noise (up to 44dB reduction). Double glazing also achieves the highest energy ratings & thermal insulation.

*Quality profile;
High gloss finish surface, high resistance to UV radiation, salty air & heaving winds, high impact strength, does not corrode or rot and are virtually maintenance-free & are termite proof – will last for generations.

*Triple-chambered profile;
Provide maximum insulation against noise or temperature.

*Advanced construction;
Fusion welded joints which allow the triple-chambered profiles to be joined perfectly.

*Galvanised Steel reinforcing;
For strength and rigidity and corrosion resistance.

*Frame styles;
Choose from a variety of styles of windows and doors including tilt & turn, fixed lights, casement, awning, single & french doors, sliding or tilt & slide windows and doors.

-Benefits;
*uPVC adds value to everyday life, contributing to a higher standard of living.
uPVC (or vinyl) is the leading plastic material for the construction market, where it makes products like electric cable insulation, pipe, flooring, windows & house siding more durable & cost-effective. uPVC requires less maintenance, frequently outlasts competitive materials & often outperforms them, making quality housing more affordable. uPVC piping systems economically & reliably deliver pure water to even the most remote locations; uPVC irrigation pipe helps increase crop yields; uPVC sewer pipe helps ensure the integrity of waste water handling systems.

*uPVC is designed for durability & long life.
90% of uPVC applications are designed for medium or long-term use. uPVC is resistant to weathering, chemical rotting, corrosion, shock & abrasion. The Water Services Association of Australia’s Sewer Drain Code gives uPVC pipe a Category A rating, signifying a life expectancy of over 100 years. In other applications such as window profiles & cable insulation, studies indicate that over 60 per cent of them will have working lives of over 40 years.

*uPVC has low embodied energy.
uPVC has a lower feedstock energy, especially compared to other polymers & common building materials. It is the least energy intensive of all thermoplastics. uPVC resin manufacturing in Australia has achieved considerable energy savings over the last six years & reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

*uPVC is partly derived from an abundantly renewable resource (salt).
More than 50% of the uPVC material comes from salt, a plentiful and renewable resource. It is the salt from which the chlorine in uPVC is derived. The remaining 43 percent of uPVC comes from petroleum, which means that uPVC consumes proportionally less non-renewable resources than other polymers and some common building materials.

*uPVC is low maintenance.
Vinyl products, such as flooring, wall coverings & windows, require very little maintenance over their lifespan – a benefit both environmentally & economically. uPVC windows & cladding, for example, do not require painting, thereby reducing potential emissions. Vinyl flooring requires less cleaning and less use of chemicals than comparable materials.

*uPVC Resistance to chemicals.
To many acids, alkalis, bases & salts.

*uPVC can be, and is recycled.
Nearly 9,000 tonnes of uPVC was recycled in Australia in 2003.
Three quarters of this was sourced from durable uPVC waste, mainly used electrical cable scrap, piping and conduit & post industrial scrap.
The vinyl industry is working with the building and construction sector to establish programs for collection and recycling of uPVC building wastes. uPVC products available with recycled content include: commercial floor tiles; stormwater pipe and fittings; plumbing DWV pipe; conduit & roadside guideposts. At the end of a uPVC product’s useful life, if it is not feasible to recycle it, it can be safely incinerated or deposited in landfill. As uPVC are fairly new in Australia they are not at the end of their life yet so no recycling program exists yet but in Europe this is a very active market with all uPVC producers incorporating old windows into their new ones.

*uPVC additives have been carefully researched.
Additives used in uPVC are regulated by a number of agencies including Australian Standards & the State Environmental Protection Agencies. The use of lead-based stabilisers in some applications is considered safe because the lead is tightly bound into the polymer matrix and does not migrate. uPVC is not considered to add significantly to lead in the environment, yet the industry has decided to phase out the use of lead stabilisers in Australia by 2010 under its Product Stewardship Commitment. The use of cadmium stabilisers by Signatories to the Product Stewardship Commitment has already ceased.

*uPVC's fire performance is well known & well tested.
Research & studies of real fires continue to indicate that carbon monoxide – produced by virtually anything that burns – is the primary cause of fire death. Early detection & suppression of fires are the key to reducing death rates further. uPVC is inherently flame-retardant due to its chlorine base, it does not readily ignite, and most uPVC products will not continue to burn once a flame source is removed. The products of uPVC combustion are no more hazardous than those produced by other common materials, both natural and synthetic.


-Maintenance & Cleaning;
*uPVC windows & doors are extremely easy to care for & require minimal maintenance but you should still clean & care for them from time to time to keep them looking & functioning like new. This advice is particularly important if you live near the sea.

*White Frames;
Wash with warm soapy water every six to twelve months to remove grime & atmospheric deposits, to remove stubborn stains use a strong non-abrasive cream cleaner or contact us to order specialist uPVC cleaner.
Keep drainage openings clear of debris.

*Coloured Frames;
Frames with a coloured foil finish should only be cleaned with warm soapy water every six to twelve months. Never sand or polish a foil finish as this will damage the laminated surface. Also remember never use abrasive cleaners these will damage the surface and may alter the gloss finish.
Keep drainage openings clear of debris.

*Standard Glass;
All glass we supply is toughened for your safety. It can be cleaned internally with any household glass cleaner and a soft cloth, any external grime can be removed using a solution of warm soapy water. Blades are not recommended for any glass.

-Hardware;
*Regular maintenance is required for all hardware, even stainless steel, as they are moving parts.
*In most environments maintenance is recommended every six months but this should increase to every three months if you live near the sea or an industrial environment.
*All exposed parts should be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft cloth then rinsed clean before being given a light spray of a corrosion preventative such as WD40.
*Locks & drop bolts should be sprayed with a lubricant. A tube attached to the nozzle will help concentrate the spray where you need it.
*This maintenance advice is very important if you live near the sea.
*Do not force stiff handles, contact us for advice.

-Environment;
It is essential that all building materials are subjected to environmental scrutiny. We are in the process of learning that products with high direct or indirect environment costs cannot be ‘economical’.

However, assessments are not easy in practice. An ecological comparison can only be made if all factors i.e. manufacture, processing, transporting, application & disposal are taken as a whole. In all of these areas, energy requirements impact on the environment, disposal as well as possible & already practiced recycling has to be weighed up.

An ‘ecological balance sheet’ such as this is difficult to draw up & as yet, is hardly available. However, a start has been made & useful figures are available, even for uPVC. These show that the energy requirements for the production of uPVC are very much lower that those for most other plastics & lower than for steel & even aluminium.

The lower processing temperatures (170-200 degrees Celsius) mean lower energy requirements than the competitive products. Furthermore, there is no lost material as all waste goes back into the process. Not only does the actual production process create less energy, but long term uPVC will outlast timber & aluminium in terms of ‘life expectancy’, thereby eliminating the need for additional energy requirements as a result of replacing warped timber or corroded aluminium windows.

Once the uPVC has undergone the extrusion process, it requires no further surface treatment (unlike powder coated aluminium of painted timber).

In terms of disposal, uPVC is environmentally neutral on the waste tip & is well suited for reclamation as an energy source or to be re-processed as a raw material. Due to impregnation & colour coatings little recycling is possible with aluminium & virtually none with wood. Wood may be the only material which is provided by nature but even she cannot keep up with the amounts required.

All these important things considered, the arguments in favour of uPVC today, will become even more important in the future.

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