If we needed reminding that sustainability is serious and not a buzzword, and that energy saving, moving rapidly to zero carbon, producing long life, minimum maintenance products and prioritising recycling contribute to attaining it, then reports from across the world should do it in spades.
We’ve seen video footage of extreme flooding in China’s capital city, Beijing; forest fires in Canada and Hawaii; and widespread reporting of heatwaves and record-breaking temperatures in many countries. Parts of Iraq have experienced 50+C for seven consecutive days this August with minimum temperatures not dropping below 37C at night. Aside from being hard to bear, these extreme temperatures make it very difficult for humans to cool down, leaving the body vulnerable to heat-related health risks.
At its simplest, sustainability means fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations. So, sustainability means designing energy efficient products with minimum embodied energy, that last a long life with minimal maintenance. And when they do come to end of life. they can be recycled many times over, thus conserving much of the embodied energy in their manufacture.
Research conducted by YouGov with consumers (over 2,000 UK adults including 1,351 homeowners) for Deceuninck and published in 2022 shows that homeowners are buying sustainability when they can. Sixty six percent would choose windows and doors with a higher level of recycled content over one with a lower level of recycled content for the same level of performance and cost. Only 2% would choose a product with less recycled content.
But homeowners often don’t know which products are more recyclable, or their recyclable content. For instance, while research shows that 50% of homeowners think PVC-U is the window and door material that’s the most energy efficient, only 14% know that it’s 100% recyclable at end of life. We all have much to do to get our messages across.
The good news from our survey is that sustainability is important to all homeowners, but it’s increasingly important to tomorrow’s buyers. Sixty eight percent of the 25-34-year-olds who took part in the survey said they were more likely to buy windows and doors that they saw as more sustainable.