Infrastructure Act Will Leverage Modern Building Materials to Enhance Sustainability

Structural Insulated Panel

Structural Insulated Panel

We’re going to need all sorts of modern (plastic) building materials.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in November 2021 authorizes more than one trillion dollars in Federal spending to help rebuild America’s infrastructure and improve sustainability. Funding will support extensive public-building renovation, along with improvements to our roads and bridges, airports, public-transit systems, and the electrical-power grid, among other upgrades.

Driving down energy consumption and improving sustainability are integral components of the law, including billions of dollars in funding to support home weatherizing and updating building energy codes, along with energy-efficiency block grants for states and local governments. These initiatives will accelerate the trend toward improved energy efficiency in new and renovated buildings, including public, commercial, and residential structures.

Making our homes and buildings more energy efficient is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to move toward zero-net energy goals and a lower carbon future.

Energy-efficiency improvements are supported by readily available plastic building materials. These modern materials are instrumental in providing robust, durable building envelopes that insulate and reduce the movement of air into and out of buildings. If envelopes are not built to achieve the appropriate levels of protection, they will not keep occupants comfortable, energy bills low, or contaminants at bay. Durable, resilient envelopes also reduce carbon emissions for the life of the building while helping protect against increasing climate events.

Lots of Energy-Saving Building Products

Here’s a quick look at some of the modern, energy-saving products available for our homes and buildings that will help enable a lower-carbon future—plus links for additional information on these amazing products.

spray foam insulation

Plastic-foam insulation fills air gaps in walls


Multiple durable plastic foam-insulation products are used in building foundations, walls, attics, and roofing to create an insulating shell. These products also can minimize unwanted air leakage and add additional resilience to the structure.

Air Barriers

Durable materials like plastic housewrap, foam plastic-insulated sheathing, and cans of foam sealant form a continuous seal to cover and fill holes and cracks in the exterior surface—reducing air leakage and saving energy.

housewrap on a partially constructed house

Continuous plastic housewrap protecting new home

Water Resistive Barriers

Additionally, housewrap and some foam plastic-insulation products also can be used as a resistive barrier against water intrusion—helping prevent leaks and big problems like mold growth.

Durable vinyl siding protects against air and moisture Credit: Shutterstock

Durable vinyl siding protects against air and moisture Credit: Shutterstock

Wall Coverings

Need additional protection from the elements? Exterior vinyl siding is durable and easy to maintain.

Insulated Doors and Windows

Our homes need entrances and sunlight… best managed by installing energy-efficient thermal doors, windows, and skylights.

Modern windows and skylights increase building energy-efficiency

Modern windows and skylights increase building energy-efficiency

For more information on the contributions of modern building materials to a lower-carbon future, click here.