The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) held its fifth annual Convention and Exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) last week from Tuesday, October 23 to Thursday, October 25. Providing access to the latest local and international opinions, interventions and decisions around sustainability and the Built environment, reputable organisations such as SAVA (South African Vinyl Association) were present and took part.
“For SAVA to be involved in South Africa’s leading green building conference and exhibition is an absolute necessity,’’ said Delanie Bezuidenhout, CEO of SAVA. “The value of interaction with role players in the construction industry including architects, engineers and specifiers, is essential. This GBCSA annual event provides us with an opportunity to tell the good news story about yesterday’s PVC and today’s vinyl that it is truly the material of the imagination!
“It was a year ago that the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) of the GBCSA announced its withdrawal of the Mat-7 PVC Minimisation credit from the Green Star SA rating system. It was fantastic to see at this year’s conference the huge excitement about vinyl use amongst architects and specifiers.”
Vinyl has been extensively used for more than 50 years. It is one of the most researched and thoroughly tested building, medical & food packaging materials in the world. It meets international standards for safety and health for the applications for which it is used. “Most of us use vinyl every day,’’ says Bezuidenhout. “Around our homes, it is used in a wide range of products such as pipes for our fresh water, drainage pipes, floor coverings, window frames, cabling, toys, pool membranes, kitchen cabinetry, wall cladding and food packaging.”
Also in the building and construction industry, vinyl is typically the material of choice because of its high performance, value for money and environmental properties. It performs well in lightweight construction systems where durability and strength are required such as large area roofing membranes.
“As vinyl is the first manmade material that we come into contact with when we are born – the vinyl clamp that seals the umbilical cord – it isn’t surprising that its role in the medical industry is vast and varied,” comments Bezuidenhout. The ability of vinyl medical devices to withstand various sterilization methods also makes it the product of choice for blood bags, intravenous tubing, masks, surgical gloves, and many other similar applications.
The hygiene requirements for flooring and wall coverings at medical facilities places enormous demands on the materials used. Vinyl has proven to be ideal for these applications, allowing for ease of disinfection which enables these facilities to offer life-saving services in hygienic conditions.
“The GBCSA offers a targeted platform from which we are able to share world-class knowledge and extensive information about vinyl as well as opinions and current breakthroughs. A large percentage of the applicable markets have little knowledge about vinyl’s uses, advantages and applications and SAVA needs to continue with its extensive market education process. It is through events such as GBCSA that this is made possible.”
In a letter addressed to SAVA in October 2011, the GBCSA acknowledged that the South African vinyl industry has and continues to address the historical environmental concerns with this material, and is transforming to improved environmental performance. The transition to date is deemed to be of a similar degree to that of the Australian vinyl industry.