Today, façade products still massively consume energy for production and they exploit raw materials like fossil fuels. One example of novel sustainable materials is Wood-Plastic-Composite (WPC) which consists of wood fibres embedded in a petrochemical matrix. They are so far applied as wall cladding. Further developments tent to employ bio-polymers instead which turns WPC into a “green-composite”.
This study sheds the light on the development of future bio-based façades, and as such Green-Composite-Façades (GCF), which use current WPCs as basic technology. It starts by a literature review which estimates the potential of green-composites in façades. Subsequently, the current state of technology of WPC cladding relative to other plastics-containing façade products is assessed in terms of standards and regulations. Findings demonstrate that current WPCs are still in need of further application-oriented research which must reveal useful product parameters for façade planers. Furthermore constitutes the development of a GCF a challenge which this study finally encounters by the proposition of an all embracing Life-Cycle-Sustainability-Assessment.
Although this innovation is technically far less competitive to current façade materials, for now its environmental potential speaks for a career as niche product particularly for highly environmentally friendly applications in the building envelope.