Polyurethane sealant reduces airflow by 25 percent, leads to significant energy savings

Life cycle assessment shows the multiple benefits of using polyurethane sealant to seal gaps in a residential home

Minneapolis, October 22, 2013 — Fourteen tubes of polyurethane sealant and a circa 1955 suburban Pittsburgh home made for a perfect fit to seal in noteworthy energy savings.

More than just a do-it-yourself weekend project, this endeavor was part of a polyurethane sealant life cycle assessment conducted by Bayer MaterialScience LLC researchers to demonstrate the benefits of polyurethane sealants.

With a minimal investment – less than $100 to purchase 14 tubes of a polyurethane sealant used to seal gaps in the home’s envelope, such as those around doors and windows – the study’s results were astounding.

  • A 25 percent reduction in airflow based on blower door testing performed before and after the sealant was applied
  • Estimated 20-year energy savings equivalent to a 60-watt bulb operating for 12.7 years continuously
  • Estimated greenhouse gas avoidance during a 20-year period that is equivalent to 32 acres of U.S. forest
  • Approximately 10 times the amount of energy savings per year compared with the amount of energy embodied in the sealant
  • A short payback period – as little as four months in one estimate – that quickly offsets the initial investment in a polyurethane sealant.

Dr. Jay Johnston, senior scientist, Bayer MaterialScience LLC, will share these and other benefits of polyurethane sealants during his presentation “Sealants for sustainability: Life cycle assessment of a polyurethane sealant on a residential structure,” at 10:15 a.m., Oct. 23, during the Adhesive and Sealant Council Fall Convention and Expo. The event is being held Oct. 21-23 in Minneapolis.

A life cycle assessment according to ISO 14040/44 is a holistic evaluation of the environmental impacts from all stages of a product’s life from raw material acquisition to final disposal. In this case, the product evaluated is a moisture-cure polyurethane sealant applied to a 2,000-square-foot, two-story, brick façade home.

In addition to Dr. Johnston, the study is authored by George Pavlovich, product sustainability and life cycle assessment manager, and; Shen Tian, environmental engineer, all of Bayer MaterialScience LLC.

“With just a small investment in a polyurethane sealant and a little elbow grease, do-it-yourself homeowners can reduce energy usage, in turn lowering energy costs and contributing to the decrease of greenhouse gases,” Dr. Johnston said. “This life cycle assessment demonstrates the positive environmental impact when polyurethane sealants are applied in a residential setting.”

About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:

Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,500 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2012 sales of 11.5 billion euros. The company manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries. Sustainability is central to Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s business and is based around the key areas of innovation, product stewardship, social responsibility and respect for the environment.

For more information about Bayer MaterialScience LLC’s coatings and adhesives technologies, call 412-777-3983 or visit www.bmsnafta.com.

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Media Contact(s):

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