#JGADeclares – John

As part of #JGADeclares each member of staff is writing a blog on their response to the climate emergency. This weeks article is by practice founder, John:

Do you remember ‘Scottish Homes’, which morphed into ‘Communities Scotland’ and then got taken over by Scottish Government? It use to have a clear policy on sustainability which encouraged individual Housing Associations and Social Landlords to ensure their investment in Housing was sustainable. That is long gone. Scottish Government now only gives lip service to sustainability. Rather it encourages the cheapest (they call it ‘affordable’) and most short sited approach to building our housing. Houses which should be an asset to the community are often a liability for future generations.

Individual Housing Associations might complain, but they too often comply with cost restrictions set by central and local government.

With all this talk about climate breakdown, extinction rebellion, and plastic pollution in our oceans and the food chain, I think it is nothing short of irresponsible for Housing Associations to specify PVC windows in new housing. They do this to try to save money.

Aside from the toxins that are released when burning PVC (and adding to fuel for fires as at Grenfell), PVC generates 43% more waste than timber windows. It is estimated that 82% of total PVC waste goes to landfill, with 15% being incinerated and only 3% being recycled. The PVC window industry like to tell you that PVC can be recycled 10 times, however they don’t tell you that it is not, most of it goes to landfill and seeps into the groundwater!

Aside from that it actually takes eight times more energy to manufacture a PVC window than an equivalent Timber frame window, and it uses 43% of oil to make it. Hardly sustainable!

I would like to see PVC window manufacturing closed down, but I can see a time when, like asbestos, it will be banned and Housing Associations would be held accountable for the mis-management of the material which contributes to the pollution of our planet with such plastic.

John Gilbert