CYRIL CISINSKI, managing director, Wacker Chemicals* Middle East and Africa, emphasises the importance of choosing the right façade material to keep a building sustainable.
MANY countries in the GCC are actively working to raise the standards of buildings and make them more environment-friendly.
The UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar are all in the process of adopting new regulations that ensure construction projects meet environmental standards, starting with Dubai, which has already put in place a green buildings code.
Façades play an important role in enhancing the environmental compatibility of buildings because they can make the structure more energy efficient and protect it from external conditions. With 100 years of experience, Germany-based Wacker Chemicals offers a number of solutions to build greener façades.
Sustainability is an integral value for Wacker and this is clearly illustrated in many aspects of its operations – starting from powering its main plant in Burghausen, Germany, with clean hydroelectric energy and moving to offering solutions that help formulate environmentally compatible products.
In the GCC, the company has worked closely over the past decade with governments and authorities to help develop environmental standards in construction and infrastructure projects, and today, Wacker sees the fruits of its labour in many parts of this region.
A good example which shows how Wacker’s products can help protect and preserve buildings and make them more energy efficient is Silres BS silicone resins. These agents provide effective and value-preserving protection of mineral building materials thanks to water-repellent silicones. In mineral surfaces and coatings, they create a durable silicone-resin network that is water-repellent yet water-vapour permeable. This effect protects walls against the effects of weathering and any resulting structural damage.
Wacker’s silicone resins are a major ingredient of so-called silicone resin emulsion paints. These paints rank among the most advanced facade coating systems. They score very high in water-vapour permeability and extreme durability. Dampness not only damages façades but also diminishes their insulation properties drastically. About five per cent of moisture is enough to lower the insulation properties of a brick wall by 50 per cent. Silres BS products are tried and tested ingredients for the production of water-repellent masonry coatings, construction chemicals and construction materials, and therefore provide ideal, highly effective facade protection.
External thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS) are used on facades in order to make buildings more energy efficient by reducing the need for indoor heating or cooling. Vinnapas polymeric binders from Wacker are used to enhance the adhesives between the insulation panel and the substrate, optimising the flexibility and impact resistance of the façade and making it water-repellent and durable. Silres BS silicone resin emulsion paints can additionally be used to give the system hydrophobicity and breathability.
An example of polymeric powders for facades from Wacker is Vinnapas 8034 H: The dispersible polymer powder is based on vinyl chloride, ethylene and vinyl laurate and has a powerful hydrophobic effect. It lowers the water uptake of mortars, without compromising their high water-vapour permeability. Added to which, the powder makes the end product extremely easy to process, and confers high abrasion resistance, very good adhesion to all substrates, and enhanced flexibility. The very good water repellency bestowed by Vinnapas 8034 H on formulations makes it ideal for challenging exterior applications.
Environmental and safety concerns are currently growing globally especially when it comes to interior paints and indoor emissions. Using Wacker products, paint manufacturers can formulate low-emission products that help promote a healthy indoor environment.
The low-environmental impact, low-odour polymer dispersion Vinnapas EF 3818, from Wacker’s Vinnapas range, was recently introduced in the Gulf region. Designed for decorative coatings, Vinnapas EF 3818 combines excellent properties, such as excellent scrub resistance, high opacity, very good processing properties, good blocking resistance and a favourable cost-benefit ratio, with the potential for formulating low-emission, water-borne interior paints. This new product is ideal for low-odour and low-emission interior paints that have a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content and satisfy current regional environmental and safety standards.
• Wacker Chemicals, the Munich-based chemical company, which has 100 years of experience in its field, operates in the region through its regional subsidiary Wacker Chemicals Middle East, which is based in Dubai, UAE.
A strong focus on research and development and a technical centre based in the region equipped with the latest technology give Wacker Chemicals Middle East a number of advantages in the market, allowing it to deliver products that meet the demands of the Gulf region.
With a presence in the Middle East since the eighties, Wacker Chemicals Middle East understands the region’s specific needs, especially in the construction sector. Its team works closely with customers to deliver products that are tailor-made for the region.
The company uses its training and competence facility, Wacker Academy Dubai, to enhance the awareness within the industry about key issues in the chemicals segment.