A quick read of a recent piece in Builder Online about new-home construction siding options misleads readers to think that all non-wood siding materials, including vinyl, carry a heavy environmental impact. A closer look reveals that the article is actually a paid advertisement by the engineered wood siding makers at Louisiana-Pacific (LP) Corporation – which spreads falsehoods and deceives readers about its competitors simply to promote its own product line.
LP’s distortions conveniently ignore the fact that vinyl siding offers far more environmental advantages over its entire life cycle than engineered wood siding. Vinyl siding is built to last, where warranties guaranteeing its service life typically extend 40-50 years. LP’s Smartside warranty starts to diminish after just five years – which imposes a cumulative burden on the environment based on the frequent need to repair or replace Smartside material over a building’s lifetime.
We’re puzzled that LP would expect readers to take its environmental claims seriously when the company hasn’t published any LCA data whatsoever on its Smartside product line. We’ll base our positions on the facts: vinyl siding is one of the best environmental performance products on the market. That conclusion is supported by BEES, the official life cycle analysis (LCA) tool administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). What’s more, the certification program by Home Innovation Research Labs – a leading green products listing group – cites the environmental attributes of a number of polymeric sidings, including vinyl siding. (LP’s Smartside didn’t make the list.)
LP irresponsibly misleads readers to believe vinyl siding contributes to the small particles of plastic in our environment – but that’s not the case. Such pollution is primarily caused by the improper disposal of single use plastic consumer products. Vinyl siding removed from buildings at the end of its service life typically isn’t irresponsibly disposed or thrown into the ocean – any portion that isn’t recycled is usually landfilled, minimizing the chance that any material particles will be released over time. LP conveniently omits this in its advertisement.
LP deceives the public about dioxin emissions, too. Burning wood, whether in fireplaces, forest fires, or accidental fires is a major source of dioxin emissions to air and water. The company’s claim that vinyl siding is a significant contributor of it is categorically false. For this reason: The production of vinyl products, including vinyl siding, has grown dramatically over the past 25 years – but the dioxin level in our environment has decreased by more than 90 percent over the same time period. It’s further proof LP’s distortions about vinyl siding are competitively driven and entirely unreliable.
We’re curious how Builder Online would allow such a grossly inaccurate advertisement, formatted to look as if it was a piece of original content, to appear on its website.
Readers deserve far better than this.