Building and Construction
The construction industry uses polyurethanes extensively in residential, commercial and institutional buildings as a thermal insulant, furthermore in coatings and flooring as well as in engineered wood applications.
The most important application is insulation to prevent heat transfer. In practice, this means keeping heat inside buildings in cold climates, keeping heat outside in warm climates and preserving food in cold stores.
Buildings last longer and with less maintenance because of the durability of polyurethanes. Rigid composite panels made from polyurethanes are light but strong, moisture-resistant and easy to install.
Due to the high insulation value of the foam, polyurethanes cut down on space requirements for walls and roofs and, hence, maximize the internal volume. This is especially important when existing buildings are being renovated to improved insulation standards. They reduce fuel costs and help conserve energy. Experts estimate that worldwide insulation of buildings to optimal standards could reduce CO² emissions from buildings by 20%.
The durability and weather resistance of polyurethane make them suitable for coatings on surfaces of all kinds - from steel and concrete to wood. They are key in developing and extending the life and ease the maintenance of infrastructures. In addition PU systems can be formulated with low to zero VOC/solvent content to comply with specifications.
As binders, polyurethane helps to develop engineered wood solutions with increased performance, but also supports the recycling of rubber tires into sports tracks and safe playground surfaces.
Sealants prevent liquids or air from entering or escaping through gaps and crevices. Polyurethanes are tough and used, for example, in harsh climatic conditions to protect windows. Other sealant applications include concrete expansion joints in the construction sector.
Many of the companies in the construction industry are SMEs who have particular skills and experience in using polyurethane-based construction products.