Case Studies

Westech Building Products

Sustainability in synthetic wood products

Since 1996, Westech Building Products, Inc. a Westlake Chemical company has been manufacturing building product profiles for the commercial and residential sectors of the construction industry. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Westech operates manufacturing facilities in Mount Vernon, Indiana, and Calgary, Canada.

Westech is part of the broader Westlake Chemical group of companies.  This vertical integration in combination with international diversity is an extremely important corporate component that puts Westech in a class of its own and gives its customers a distinct advantage.

Standing out

The engineers at Westech are committed to the innovative development of high-performing building products. In 2014 Westech partnered with Resysta North America to manufacture and sell TruGrain™ made with Resysta® products; the products contain a proprietary, highly durable and sustainable fiber-reinforced hybrid material that yields products with the look and feel of wood. Rice husks are a key ingredient in TruGrain; the husks are a rapidly renewable resource that is considered agricultural waste. The rice husks are then combined with polyvinyl chloride, a durable plastic, to make a product that combines many of the attributes of hardwood with the durability of a polymer.

Westech Building Products Inc.“What sets us apart from other companies is the fact that TruGrain made with Resysta is made from a sustainable resource (rice husks) and 100 percent recyclable within the manufacturing process,” says Jocelyn Durant, product marketing manager. “It has many of the same attributes as exotic hardwood, you can sand and stain it and installation is relatively easy with its unique clip system. In addition the product is more durable and has increased longevity compared to exotic hardwood.” TruGrain profiles maintain their integrity for several years without requiring restaining, unlike wood. Additionally, TruGrain products are impervious to insects and fungi. The variety of different profiles available offers architects, deck builders and craftsmen a wide degree of creativity and innovation in design and application.

TruGrain’s uniqueness and quality make its use attractive on large commercial projects as well as high-end residential homes. While Westech primarily focuses on serving North America, it does have the capability to serve the international market.

Applying technology

As a company that promotes sustainability, Westech recently supplied TruGrain siding boards for a prefabricated private residence in New Canaan, Connecticut. The company worked with an architect that specializes in prefabricated, highly sustainable custom homes to provide prefabricated panels clad in TruGrain for exterior walls.

This approach to construction significantly reduces the amount of time required to complete a home building project. Total construction time from site preparation to move-in was a total of six months. The prefabricated panels supplied for this home possessed gaskets at all joints, which resulted in an extremely airtight building envelope with R-35 insulation and an R-60 roof. An energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system ensures consistent fresh air distribution and provides the home with 95 percent efficiency.

Architects also sought out TruGrain decking for use in a luxury residential development project in Minneapolis that earned LEED Silver certification. The Nic on Fifth is a 27-story high-quality lifestyle facility that was hailed by the Minneapolis Business Journal as a “market changing” project. It features a resort-like amenity deck, with a pool, spa, bar, private cabanas, and dog walks. Along with its sustainable strategies, the use of sustainable materials earned the project the journal’s Best in Real Estate award in 2014.

Greenbuild

Westech will be attending the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C. this year with the goal of educating the industry on the sustainability of the TruGrain products the company manufactures. “After speaking with many architects in the commercial and residential sectors we have discovered how important sustainability is to them when it comes to different products and applications,” says Durant. “TruGrain holds a unique position in the market -recycling materials from the agricultural waste stream it thereby reduces deforestation; and delivers a beautiful product with many of the same attributes as wood. We’re excited to attend the expo, which will be a good avenue to garner more awareness in the industry.”

Westech’s presence at Greenbuild will generate mass exposure for the company as it will be placed in front of its largest target clients. “Reaching commercial and residential architects, builders and developers with our message is very important to us,” says Durant. “Greenbuild will be a great avenue for us to reach these sectors of the industry.”

As Westech continues to progress, the company will be delving further into innovative profile designs. “We’ve received a lot of interesting feedback from our distributors and architects,” says Durant. “We’re looking to expand the brand as well as the demand for synthetic wood products in the marketplace.”

While the company continues to increase its market share, Westech Building Products will maintain its presence as a leader in innovative and sustainable technology.

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