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Green Basics

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding: Love It or Hate It

###Is it green?

Vinyl siding often evokes strong emotions in green builders. For some, the flimsy feel of a vinyl-clad wall, or the environmental problems associated with the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is enough to dissuade them from using the product. Others, however, are won over by vinyl’s many strengths. It’s an inexpensive, low-maintenance, well-ventilated siding option. From a building science perspective, it performs extremely well, and moisture problems are rare.

There is no simple answer to questions about the environmental impact of products made from PVC. Its manufacture and disposal raise a variety of potential health issues, and the post-consumer recycling rate is low. However a task force of the U.S. Green Building Council issued a 200-page report in 2007 on the relative green merits of PVC, which concluded that it’s no worse than the alternatives.

A number of environmental groups disagree, however, noting that more benign options are available, including wood, brick, stucco, and fiber-cement.

For more information on this issue, see the following two articles:

Vinyl siding often evokes strong emotions in green builders. For some, the flimsy feel of a vinyl-clad wall, or the environmental problems associated with the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is enough to dissuade them from using the product. Others, however, are won over by vinyl’s many strengths. It’s an inexpensive, low-maintenance, well-ventilated siding option. From a building science perspective, it performs extremely well, and moisture problems are rare.

There is no simple answer to questions about the environmental impact of products made from PVC. Its manufacture and disposal raise a variety of potential health issues, and the postconsumer recycling rate is low. However …

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