Energy consumption is a major contributor to climate change and the building and construction sector accounts for 30-40 percent of all energy use worldwide.  Reducing a building's carbon footprint is essential in the fight against climate change.
The intelligent use of plastics in building and construction contributes significantly to energy conservation and greenhouse gas reductions. From the use of housewrap, thermal insulation, pipes, to window frames, doors, roofs, flooring, fire sprinklers and siding, plastics are being used increasingly to 'green' our homes – to achieve greater energy efficiency and energy savings.
They perform a wide range of functions -- decorative (facades and interiors), structural (strengthening concrete), and in carbon-dioxide reduction (thermal insulation systems).
Plastic intelligently applied during the construction process can help save up to 90 percent of the energy used in buildings for lighting and climate control. If all the houses in Canada used plastic exterior foam insulation, greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by three million tonnes a year; equal to taking 700,000 cars off the road. And the use of plastic building wrap can further reduce a home's carbon footprint by reducing heating and cooling costs by up to 50 percent.
OSB and R-13 batt insulation Same house with 1/2 inch plastic
rigid sheathing insulation added
- foam plastic roof insulation
- vinyl roofing membranes
- spray polyurethane foam insulation
- structural insulated panels
- insulating foam sheathing and housewrap
- vinyl siding
- insulating concrete foams
- plastic sealants
- plastic piping
- plastic tubing
- vinyl window frames
- exterior insulation finish systems, exterior cladding
- plastic electrical products
- plastic decks, fences, railings, boardwalks and doors
- plastic fire sprinklers
- plastic wall coverings
- plastic floor coverings
- polyethylene air/vapour barrier
 UNEP Sustainable Construction and Building Initiative, March 2007.