How and Where

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Architects and builders specify and use a variety of materials to construct the houses, schools, businesses, hospitals and recreation centers where people work, live, learn and play.

Materials made possible by chemistry are used in making all the parts of a building – from roof tops to wall coverings and floors, to insulation inside the building envelope to countertops and surfaces.

  • Vinyl flooring used in high-traffic areas in hospitals can be bleached, cleaned with hot water or steam washed, and the materials hold up for many years. In addition, antimicrobial treatments can help inhibit the growth of bacteria or germs on surfaces in schools, subways, public restrooms, hospitals and gyms. Luxury vinyl tile can provide design flexibility in meeting clients’ demands for aesthetically-pleasing flooring while providing a potentially cost-effective alternative to historic choices.
  • Carpets made from nylon or other fibers like polyester or polyolefins are durable, stain- and moisture-resistant. Soft polyurethane padding underneath can make carpets more comfortable and also provides insulation against the cold and acts as a sound barrier to minimize noise.
  • Caulks and foam insulations fill tiny cracks and holes in doors and window frames, minimizing air leakage to reduce heating and cooling costs. Silicones, polyurethanes and acrylics help bond window frames to surfaces like wood, concrete or aluminum, helping to reduce air leakage, keep indoor temperatures comfortable, and increase a building’s energy efficiency.
  • Plastic coatings on metal roofs help make them durable and storm-resistant and provide protection from corrosive environments, such as salt air. Huge, yet lightweight, domes made with plastic composites cover stadiums and arenas, providing a comfortable environment for sports fans and concert goers all year round. And dramatic architectural features such as accented skylights also are made possible by lightweight, durable, clear plastics.
  • Nano-wax particles in acrylics that make up gypsum wall board and ceiling tiles absorb heat like an energy sponge and then later release it, to help keep a room at a comfortable temperature longer over both high- and low-occupancy periods.