Environmentally Sustainable Acrylic Alternatives

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Environmentally Sustainable Acrylic Alternatives

Polyvinyl chloride polymers (PVC) and ECO-Glass are two examples of environmentally sustainable acrylic alternatives. These options also serve the same purposes as acrylic, are strong, and can endure harsh conditions. The next section provides the full details of each acrylic alternative, i.e., PVC and ECO-Glass.

Polyvinyl Chloride Polymers

ECO-Glass

Research Methodology

In finding the examples of environmentally sustainable acrylic alternatives, your research team started by examining sustainable and industry reports about the alternatives and eco-friendly options for acrylic. On that note, we came across two reports, one published by Sustainability.Energy, which mentioned PVC as an alternative to acrylic, and the other by Ecosystems Displays, which suggested ECO-Glass as an alternative for acrylic. We then examined each option and checked for manufacturers making these products. Next, we searched for vendors and their pricing information and details. It turned out that most manufacturers do not display their pricing information unless contacted privately via their websites. Importantly, we made sure that both acrylic alternatives serve a similar purpose to acrylic in fabrication by conducting in-depth searches on their use in fabrication.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Trends in Environmentally Sustainable Fabricating

Prefabricated construction and biophilic design are two trends in environmentally sustainable fabricating, focusing on art/design installations.

TRENDS

1. PREFABRICATED CONSTRUCTION

  • More companies are beginning to build and assemble components of structures they wish to construct in their factories and warehouses before transferring them to the site. Prefabricated construction is expected to transform the construction industry.
  • Manufacturers have found that producing concrete panels onsite requires more time and energy. As such, "producing these concrete panels as sub-assemblies offsite and then transporting them to the job site is an easier and more efficient solution."
WHY IT IS A TREND
  • According to "McGraw-Hill’s 2011 SmartMarket Report," 44% of users reported that prefabricated construction reduced construction site waste by 5% or more.
  • Prefabricated construction is carried out in a controlled, dry environment, thus reducing water usage, as well as recycling scraps and other materials, which reduces environmental hazards and dirt. Also, with less onsite traffic and streamlined transportation, the consumption of fossil fuel will be reduced.
  • "Prefabrication allows the system to ship finished to the site, reducing the volatile organic compounds (VOC) and air quality concerns of traditional drywall and finishing."
EXAMPLES
  • "New York's 461 Dean building is a 32-story construction built with modular components."
  • Katerra is combining the use of technology and a full-service approach to producing prefabricated buildings on a large scale.

2. BIOPHILIC DESIGN

  • This trend was borne out of the innate emotional connection to nature that is present in humans.
  • While it is a relatively new trend in architecture and interior design, it is "essentially a continuation of the popular green architecture movement that emerged from the engineering and construction world in the mid-’90s through the early 2000s." The movement led to the creation of several buildings that were environmentally sustainable.
  • The biophilic design movement integrates natural patterns into building architecture. It has grown swiftly, moving from a position of relative obscurity to the forefront of commercial design in a few years.
  • For example, electric lighting manufacturers are producing lighting systems that mimic the circadian rhythm, thus helping people to keep track of the natural 24-hour cycle.
  • The concept of green walls is one within the biophilic design movement, which promotes productivity, well being, and ecological design solutions the most.
WHY IT IS A TREND
  • The World Health Organization named stress as the health epidemic of the 21st century and natural materials, including "woods, plants, moss, rocks, seashells, and lots of natural light help to soften stressful environments."
  • About 89% of Americans said that exposure to natural light affected their mood positively, and 87% said it affected their productivity positively.
EXAMPLES
  • In 2017, Ketra introduced a lighting system that perfectly mimics the color, temperature, and intensity of natural light.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

We identified two trends in environmentally sustainable fabricating, focusing on art/design installations from Building Design+Construction. We then carried out further research from Ambius, and The Balance Small Business, among others, to provide additional insights regarding the trends. Also, we utilized two sources that are beyond Wonder's standard two-year time frame, one by Electrical Contractor Magazine, and the other by SageGlass. We used these sources because they provided valuable additional insights for the report and because they addressed topics that as still trending in 2019.
Sources
Sources