bauelemente bau article published: Review of the 49th Rosenheim Window Days

In its December issue, BauelementeBau reports on the presentation Gerald Feigenbutz (QKE e.V. Bonn) held at the 49th Rosenheimer Fenstertage. Based on the Green Deal, Feigenbutz refers to the transformation of the EU economy into a circular economy and describes the importance of "design-for-recycling" on the way there.

The future programme for the construction industry aims to mobilise the industry for a circular economy in order to contribute to energy- and resource-efficient construction. This includes, inter alia, the efficient use of resources as well as the use of low-carbon energy sources under the term "decarbonisation".

A prerequisite for both saving resources and closing material cycles is to increase the renovation rate, especially in the case of the construction industry. At the same time, the recyclability of new products, which also includes PVC window systems, will be a crucial part of product development. eIn order to use material resources sparingly, the availability of recyclable materials should be ensured. This means that, in the sense of "design for recycling", new products must be able to absorb recyclates and at the same time be convertible back into recyclate after use. At the same time, progress must also be made in the standardization of recyclates in terms of quality aiming to ensure the demand-driven aspect. To this end, the European Commission has already submitted a standardization mandate to CEN.

Concept of the new DfR guideline

As the system houses are members of the Circular Plastic Allicance, the task in 2021 was to draw up a DfR guideline for plastic PVC windows. This guideline is based on the generic structure of a standard and consists of three criteria to be fulfilled. One is the evaluation of the recycled content during processing. If recycled material is incorporated to a certain extent in a new profile system, this has an impact on product design, raw material specification and production technology. The assessment of recyclability, on the other hand, evaluates the separation of the building product into its individual parts and their reintegration into existing recycling processes. To implement this criterion, the guideline refers to EN 45555:2020-04 "General procedure for assessing the recyclability and recoverability of energy-related products" as a basis. Some modifications, however, were necessary to adapt the scheme to needs of PVC-U windows. The third criterion is intended to ensure the quality of a plastic product with recycled content on how it is expected by the market. When assessing plastic window profile systems, existing quality certification systems such as RAL, KOMO, QB and others are in place to give manufacturers and consumers the desired security. Since its completion in September 2021, the DfR guideline has been in a one-year practice and trial phase. The evaluation of the results will follow at the end of 2022.

Old windows have already been recycled within the framework of a controlled loop since the end of the 1990s. With the newly created Design for Recycling Directive, the industry has succeeded in making an additional contribution to recyclability and in making a contemporary commitment to resource conservation.

Read the entire report in bauelemente bau (12/2022) here (PDF / German).