Bob Moffit is a technical service representative for Ashland Inc. He has been in the composites industry since 1994, starting as a process engineer and spending several years as a technical service representative to composite fabricators. Since moving to Ashland’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio in 2002, he has managed the quality program and most recently took on a product management role, overseeing several of UPR product lines. In 2010, he received LEED Green Associate certification and currently serves as co-chair of the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s Green Composite Education committee. He is scheduled to speak at the Construction, Corrosion and Infrastructure Conference, May 9-11 in Las Vegas, sponsored by ACMA.
What opportunities are there for composites in sustainable building kinds of programs?
Sustainable building programs such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED initiative are a great opportunity for composites. One significant reason is that such initiatives force architects and designers to seek alternative materials. This is what our industry needs ― a chance for the building community to hear of the value composites can offer ― design flexibility, durability, low weight and dimensional stability. We are certain to increase our opportunities when the market is ready to compare composites to traditional building materials.
How can composites meet requirements for various applications?
In addition to the general opportunity for composites mentioned above, there are also specific opportunities driven by these standards. When looking at the LEED initiative, there are opportunities for composites under almost every category. Some of the categories are easy to draw a connection between the LEED requirement and the composite part ― such as the use of rapidly renewable content or recycled content. Other requirements are not defined outright, but drive use of composites through application needs, such as use of fiberglass tanks and piping in water conservation and re-use systems.
What challenges do you see in meeting these requirements?
In specific applications, such as the daylighting portion of indoor environmental quality and portions of the water efficiency credit, composites will continue to gain ground because there are significant performance and lifetime cost benefits for using the products. In the more general categories, such as rapidly renewable content, composites won’t win market share just because the composite has renewable content ― the products don’t typically contribute enough toward the credit for the renewable content alone to justify their use. But items such as renewable content can be used to give an advantage when compared to similar performing traditional materials.