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European Lead Sheet Industry Association

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Lead Sheet - No Weatherproof Product is as Efficient or Sustainable as Lead Sheet

London, United Kingdom, December 03, 2009 --( Builders, architects and craftsmen can now take advantage of the falling cost of raw materials. The price of lead sheet has not been so low for years. This new price level has reinforced the competitiveness of lead sheet in comparison to synthetic alternatives available in the market. Choosing to use lead sheet for roofing solutions guarantees premium quality at affordable prices.

Lead sheet, although a centuries-old building material, still outperforms alternatives under modern construction requirements. Many synthetic roofing products promise high levels of cost-efficiency but, on examination, they fail to deliver. Product performance can only be correctly assessed by an overall view of the shadow costs; this is a method to assess a product´s total cost to society, including its environmental impact.

An independent study has recently been carried out by the well respected Dutch research institute TNO, to compare different weather protection materials currently available on the market. The total costs of each are taken into consideration, based on the entire product lifecycle – from manufacture through to waste disposal. The TNO study assessed materials commonly used for three applications: cavity wall, wall/roof junctions and valley gutters.

The study concluded that lead sheet is the product with the best performance. All alternative products currently available - such as SEBS, GRP, EPDM and PVC - have higher shadow costs. Experts estimate the shadow costs for lead sheet, depending on its function, to be €1.47 or €1.94. The shadow costs for synthetic alternative products, depending on their function, are between 35 percent and 256 percent higher than this.

The high cost efficiency of lead sheet is mainly due to two factors - its long lifespan and extensive recycling.

• Lead sheet has an average service life of 75 years (often much longer), while alternative products only last 20 to 30 years.
• At the end of its service life, lead sheet is reclaimed and recycled. Due to its low melting point the environmental impact of recycling is minimal. Up to 97.5% of lead sheet is made from recycled materials - making this one of the greenest of all building materials.

In addition, the economics of lead sheet benefit from the evolution of an efficient supply chain from scrap recovery and refining to lead sheet manufacture and distribution. "This traditional product is particularly well-engineered in its production, application and disposal," states Terry Boon, Technical Director of the European Lead Sheet Industry Association (ELSIA). "No weatherproof product is as efficient or sustainable as lead sheet."

About ELSIA:
The European Lead Sheet Industry Association (ELSIA) is the central trade association of the European lead sheet manufacturing industry. All members work to an established EN standard that guarantees the highest level of product quality. ELSIA is committed to funding long-term research and development to ensure that its products are environmentally sound. The members take a modern, responsible attitude to the health and safety of stakeholders and the environment.

- Photos free of charge upon request, © ELSIA ( -

Contact Information
conovo media
Kai Busch

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