Consequences of stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change on the use of materials
Materials used in the exterior of buildings and in construction are routinely exposed to solar UV radiation. Especially in the case of wood and plastic building materials, the service life is determined by their weather-induced deterioration. Any further increase in ground-level solar UV radiation, UV-B radiation in particular, will therefore reduce the outdoor service life of these products. Any increase in ambient temperature due to climate change will also have the same effect. However, the existing light-stabilizer technologies are likely to be able to mitigate the additional damaging effects due to increased solar UV radiation and maintain the outdoor lifetimes of these materials at the present levels. These mitigation choices invariably increase the lifetime cost of these products. A reliable estimate of what this additional cost might be for different products is not available at the present time. Personal exposure to UV radiation is reduced both by clothing fabrics and glass windows used in buildings and automobiles. This assessment describes how the recent technical advances in degradation and stabilization techniques impact the lifetimes of plastics and wood products routinely exposed to solar UV radiation and the protection to humans offered by materials against solar UV radiation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Environmental effects of ozone depletion and its interactions with climate change: 2014 Assessment