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HUNTSMAN POLYURETHANES - Smart Water Management Foam Set To Transform Green Roof Market

Architects looking to incorporate green roofs and skyrise gardens into building plans to enhance the sustainability of new structures or properties undergoing renovation, can now recommend the use of an innovative growing substrate that will help make their designs a reality.

VYDRO® foam is a unique hydrophilic polyurethane material unlike any other currently available. Capable of storing up to 30 times its own weight in water, this breakthrough smart water management solution is a highly effective planting medium for intensive and extensive green roofs.

Proven to function where other materials fail, VYDRO® foam enables the creation of green roofs in locations where they were previously ruled out. With the ability to rehydrate over multiple growing cycles and a water buffering capacity of 60%, it can be used in hot, dry climates. And with weight savings of up to 70% on offer compared to standard systems, it can dramatically simplify the installation of ‘living’ roofs, particularly on properties where weight and structural strength are a critical factor, for example, in retrofitting older buildings. A one meter cubed area of VYDRO® foam weighs just 30kg. The same area of lava stone weighs approximately 1500kg.

VYDRO® foam works by locking in exactly the right balance of air and water needed to optimize successful plant development. Plant roots can easily penetrate the inert, PH-neutral open structured foam enabling rapid growth and improved crop yields: third party trials have shown that plants cultivated using VYDRO® foam can generate 5% higher yields than those produced using conventional growing methods.

Switching to VYDRO® foam as a replacement green roof substrate brings numerous other benefits. With superior insulating properties VYDRO® foam can improve a building’s envelope, helping to minimize temperature loss, reduce energy consumption levels and cut heating and cooling costs by up to 5%. It can also:

· Reduce the risk of flooding by minimizing rainwater run off and retaining it for plant growth.

· Improve air quality: Green roofs act as filters absorbing polluting particles that cause smog.

· Reduce noise pollution: Vegetation in cities dampens sound reflection off hard surfaces.

· Minimize the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE): Cities are generally hotter than rural areas because of the widespread use of heat absorbing materials like concrete and asphalt. Adding more foliage into metropolitan areas in the form of green roofs can help mitigate this problem.

· Improve biodiversity: Green roofs provide a safe refuge for insects, birds and wildlife.

· Save time and money: VYDRO® foam is inherently light and can be compressed, vacuum packed and shaped to ease transportation and installation logistics.

VYDRO® foam has been created by Huntsman Polyurethanes in response to some of the world’s major environmental concerns; water scarcity, climate change and increased urbanization.

Anthony Dent, Global Product Launch Manager at Huntsman Polyurethanes, said: “Finding new ways to tackle climate change and manage water in an intelligent way is vital, particularly in urban areas where populations are increasing and urbanization is having a stark impact on the environment. Getting more vegetation into cities, and reducing the use of hard landscaping materials, is now a priority for many countries and installing green roofs is an effective way to achieve this. With government legislation, financial incentives and new buildings standards encouraging the adoption of green roofs, the sector is buoyant. What better time to launch VYDRO® foam – a product that makes it far easier to create green roofs and helps embed smart water management capabilities into horticultural applications, bringing sustainability benefits to people and the planet.”

Huntsman has a strong network of VYDRO® foam roofing partners in place across Europe and interest in the product is growing with a global list of high-profile reference sites.

As well as transforming green roofing projects in the sustainable building sector, VYDRO® foam is also expected to prove popular in agricultural initiatives. Its excellent water retention properties will enable growers to save money on irrigation costs, reduce water consumption and lessen their overall environmental impact. VYDRO® foam can also be used in the manufacture of vertical walls, flowerpots and landscaping and sports projects.

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News Categories:
Smart water management Polyurethane material Green roof systems

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