More facts and figures

Environment

  • because of the introduction of polyurethanes into refrigerators, models designated A++ today are 60% more efficient than refrigerators 15 years ago.
  • experts estimate that insulation of buildings to optimal standards worldwide could reduce CO2 emissions by 20%. Approximately 51 million kWh of energy is saved each year in the EU by the use of polyurethane insulation.
  • since 2003, all polyurethane foams have been CFC-free in developed countries
  • insulating your house efficiently with polyurethanes could reduce your bills by around 35%.More widespread use of polyurethane rigid foam across the EU could reduce overall CO2 emissions by 10% and enable the EU to meet its Kyoto commitments by 2010.
  • the amount of energy used to produce enough polyurethane insulation for one house is subsequently saved in only one year thanks to the insulation.
  • polyurethane window and door frame sealants could help dramatically improve energy efficiency across Europe. If installed all over Europe, it is estimated that the savings would equal 40 billon kWh of electricity, roughly what 5 power stations would nominally produce.
  • today, about 45% of fossil fuels are used to cool and heat the interiors of buildings and homes
  • in Europe, buildings use 40% of all energy and are responsible  for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • modern insulating materials can decrease the energy consumption in residential buildings by more than 70%. This is the equivalent to savings of 110 million metric tons of CO2
  • for every kilogram of polyurethane used in construction, as much as 1800 kg kilograms of CO2 equivalent emissions could be saved over a 50 year lifespan of a building
  • roof insulation saves about 75% of the heat that would otherwise escape which translates to a substantial saving on heating bills. Roof insulation has a payback typically between 3 to 5 years simply through energy savings alone depending on the thermal capacity
  • during its in-use phase, a well insulated roof saves about 600 litres of heating oil per m2 during an estimated use phase of 50 years
  • low energy buildings offer considerable savings in energy bills over their lifetime compared to standard new constructions as they basically only use 15–25 % of the energy required to run a conventional one
  • energy demand in existing buildings can be reduced by 30-50% through retro-fitting insulation and in new buildings it can be reduced by a staggering 90-95%.
  • passive houses use 85% less overall energy with the limit for total primary energy use being 120kWh/m²
  • at present, more than 12,000 passive houses have been built in Europe, however mostly located in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia

Manufacture

  • over two million tons of polyurethane is produced in the EU every year.
  • the polyurethane industry employs over 800,000 people in the EU.
  • polyurethane is often referred to as PU or PUR.
  • polyurethanes are made in virtually every EU country.
  • only two main chemical components – MDI and TDI – are needed to create a vast range of polyurethane products.
  • rigid and flexible foams constitute the principal use of polyurethanes (see chart below).

General

  • the first polyurethane surfboard was made and used in the 1950s.
  • in 1973, roller skates were improved and popularised by the introduction of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) wheels and, later, TPU boots. Today they are known as Rollerblades.
  • polyurethane underlay beneath carpets greatly reduces their wear and tear and makes them feel softer and more comfortable
  • due to their versatility, polyurethanes can be cut into sheets, slabs or other desired shapes, as well as moulded or sprayed in place to meet custom designs.
  • certain polyurethanes are used to make boats more buoyant, rendering some small boats almost unsinkable.
  • polyurethanes act as sound insulators in car bodies and reduce vehicle noise by 50% more than traditional materials.
  • over 2 million people are employed by industries that make, need or use polyurethanes.
  • the market value of the polyurethanes industry in the EU today is over €150 billion. oggi il valore di mercato dell’industria dei poliuretani nell’UE supera i 250 miliardi di euro.
  • the polyurethanes industry employs more than 800,000 workers in the EU; in addition, associated but indirect activities involve more than 71,000 companies employing over 2 million people.
  • polyurethane is highly durable and typically exceeds the life of the product it is being used in.  Under normal use and regular wear and tear, we can expect a lifespan of: 50+ years for building insulation and 25+ years for refrigerators