New Silicones from Dow Corning Help Architects Meet Environmental Expectations

A new generation of silicone-based adhesives and sealants from Dow Corning is helping enable architects to meet the growing demand for environmentally sustainable design and construction techniques, according to William R. O’Brien, global innovation strategic marketer from Dow Corning Corporation, who spoke at the 2009 Green Building and Energy Efficiency International Conference.

“A sustainable approach to construction, using environmentally appropriate materials and applications, is needed for the design and construction of ‘green’ buildings in China,” said O’Brien. “We are committed to contributing sustainable technologies to the industry.”

With higher fuel prices and heightened concerns about climate change, energy efficiency has remained top of mind for many in the construction industry, O’Brien said. Building structures remain one of the heaviest consumers of natural resources. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for as much as 72 percent of electricity consumption, 39 percent of energy use, 38 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, and 30 percent of waste output.

Dow Corning has been involved in the construction of a number of China’s major “green” buildings, such as in building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) curtain walls of 2010 Shanghai World Expo including World Expo Theme Center, China Pavilion and Art performance Center. These curtain walls integrate solar energy technologies into a building's façade or roof materials, rather than being an addition to a building.

Among other features, “green” buildings typically have high ceilings and use high performance glass curtain wall to maximize daylight without compromising energy efficiency of the building. Dow Corning silicone structural glazing is a technology that has proven its value in practice for more than 35 years, which provide architects with virtually unlimited freedom in the planning and creation of modern construction projects with larger, more efficient windows that provide better thermal insulation and let in more daylight. Performance and reliability are key criteria when choosing bonding and sealing compound solutions for structural glazing, insulating glazing, weather resistant sealing and fire protection applications.

High performance silicone sealants can help failed weather seals and revitalize a building’s aesthetic appearance, ensuring durable, leak-proof structures that are UV-stable and remain virtually unaffected by extreme weather conditions. This not only reduces any waste and solvent usage generated from sealing (and resealing) the structure, it’s also more cost-efficient, as less money is needed to constantly replace less durable building substrates. Silicone sealant technology enables the absorption of stress, prevents air & water intrusion and provides excellent insulation. A properly insulated building envelope keeps the interiors warm in winter and cooler in summer.

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