Enhancing Buildings & Communities
The foundation of resilient communities are resilient buildings, and the foundation of resilient buildings are innovative, high-performance materials made possible by chemistry.
Product and materials selection is a critical component in building for resiliency. Innovations in chemistry can contribute to increased lifespans of structures and building materials and help protect critical infrastructure, to help buildings and communities recover quickly from the increasing threat of natural disasters, extreme weather events and environmental hazards.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) defines resilience as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events,” and sustainable buildings are a cornerstone of community resilience.
As part of Greenbuild 2020, on October 1, ACC sponsored a special Resilience Summit, a full-day virtual forum centering on community adaptability, recovery and elevating equity. The summit highlighted the newest research and technology around resilience-enhancing designs, materials and methods. » Learn More
Advances in Chemistry Build Resilience
Advances in chemistry and materials science can help stakeholders specify products that may help structures better withstand severe weather, natural disasters and the test of time. For example:
Silicone sealants in exterior joints are important for resiliency, guarding against passage of air and moisture into a building. This is important in creating “passive survivability” and maintaining occupant comfort and safety—for example, in the event of power outages during hurricanes or blizzards. Such extreme weather conditions can result in bulk water or moisture-laden air harmful to a building’s occupants, contents and structural components.
Spray polyurethane foam can help increase a building’s resistance to wind uplift by creating an airtight roof assembly. Closed-cell spray foam is also the only material certified by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to be flood resistant.
Polycarbonate plastic, used in windows and frames, is both lightweight and shatter resistant. Polycarbonate laminate sheets can help protect occupants against ballistics impact, forced entry and bomb blasts.
Membranes and Adhesives, used in constructing vegetative “living” roofs, can provide critical storm water mitigation during water events. Living roofs help keep the building dry while also reducing the burden on storm water and sewer systems during natural disasters. On a wider scale, green roofs can improve air quality and help reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, a condition in which city and suburban developments absorb and trap heat.
Chemistry is the science behind sustainability, and science is essential to understanding and overcoming the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. For more than 30 years, ACC member companies have demonstrated commitments to sustainability through Responsible Care®, the chemical industry’s environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative. In 2018, ACC members built on that foundation, launching a set of Sustainability Principles which illustrate our commitment to improving our own sustainability performance and helping others to do the same.