Unknowingly Hazardous Items at Your Child’s School

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locker

Although teachers, administrators, and staff do their best to make American schools a safe place for children to learn and play, there are some dangers that simply can’t be avoided. What’s even more precarious is that many of these dangers seem fairly innocent, playing a mundane role in the daily lives of school children.

In an article published by HealthGrove, experts used data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to evaluate the most dangerous items involved in school-related injuries reported between 1997 and 2014. The resulting list of 20 items included some unsurprising offenders, such as scissors (No. 19) and paint (No. 17). However, at No. 8 on the list, an average of 7,558 injuries each year involved something much more commonplace. The culprit: ordinary lockers.

Lockers: A Hidden Danger to Children?

Although many people might have fond memories of their high school locker, hanging pictures of their favorite bands or celebrity crushes, a surprising number of injuries each year involve these convenient hallway hideaways. In addition to impact injuries, metal lockers pose another serious threat: tetanus. Even in areas not subject to excessive moisture, rust can form on metal lockers and cause additional damage as the rust spreads.

Slowly, the rust will deteriorate the locker, leaving behind sharp edges that can easily cut or injure a student. This is one reason why many schools are transitioning away from traditional metal lockers and looking toward newer and less harmful materials. One possible answer lies in HDPE solid plastics.

A New Kind of Locker for Your Child’s School

Unlike metal lockers, lockers made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are resistant to rust and corrosion. These non-porous lockers are also resistant to odors, dents, mildew, and even graffiti, making them not only safe but cost-effective for school officials. Lower maintenance costs mean those budget dollars could go toward programming or purchasing school supplies.

In addition to possibly reducing the number of injuries and helping schools save on their yearly budget, HDPE lockers are quieter than metal lockers, reducing noise in the hallways between or during classes. And some lockers made from this durable material are GREENGUARD Gold Certified, making them safe for the environment.

What Is GREENGUARD Certification?

GREENGUARD Certification means that the certified product has met some of the highest standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air indoors. According to the GREENGUARD website, the “Gold standard includes health based criteria for additional chemicals and also requires lower total VOC emissions levels to ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.”

All of the brands produced by Scranton Products, including their HDPE lockers, are GREENGUARD Gold Certified. This certification increases the safety level of these lockers as a terrific replacement for traditional metal lockers found in many schools.

Contact Scranton Products for more information about their building solutions.

Identifying and Resolving Energy Inefficiencies in Your Building

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Energy Costs One of the main concerns when managing a facility is keeping energy use in check for several reasons, one being cost and the other regulations. But eliminating excess energy usage is easier said than done.

So what are facility managers doing to measure their energy usage and detect problems caused by energy waste? Keep reading to learn more.

Utilizing Diagnostic Tools

Maintenance departments utilize diagnostic tools so technicians can identify problems that can potentially be costly. Recently, a new-generation technology “offers technicians a higher level of sophistication and ease of use,” according to Facilitiesnet.com.

Examples of the diagnostic tools are infrared imagers and electrical test equipment. They offer additional benefits such as reducing energy waste that relates to HVAC and electrical systems.

Facilitiesnet.com describes infrared thermography as “a non-destructive, non-contact technique that uses an infrared detector to map thermal patterns on the surface of an object. They operate on the principle that any object with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat.”

Using the infrared technology can determine issues that are occurring in the building that the human eye cannot detect, such as heat loss, water leaks, air leaks, moisture intrusion, and construction defects. Thermal imaging can even pinpoint areas where the highest amount of heat is being lost. This can help facilities identify the areas and rectify the situation to prevent further energy loss.

Developing Energy-Saving Strategies

With buildings and facilities taking up so much energy during both the construction phase and the post-construction phase, it’s important to put strategies in place that will conserve energy. An article on Facilitiesnet.com discusses Todd Isherwood, who works with the City of Boston’s facility managers, energy department, and budget office for more structured energy efficiency goals and strategies.

One of his job responsibilities is determining how to reduce energy use in Boston’s buildings in the best way possible. He focuses on Boston’s aggressive greenhouse gas emission goals, which are 25% reduction by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. He always must consider the Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, which “requires all non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 square feet to report energy and water use to the city.”

Isherwood works on reducing energy use in Boston’s buildings by gathering data, standardizing systems, and doing retrocommissioning and energy audits. His next steps include identifying projects then creating energy performance contracts, which is part of an initiative called the Renew Boston Trust.

Once you determine your goals and put your strategies in place, you’ll be able to start seeing the money that’s being saved from energy efficiency.

If you’re a facility manager looking to install eco-friendly products in your facility, click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products. These products are made of HDPE plastic, so the materials are sustainable and good for the air quality in your facility.

Will Solar Energy for Commercial and Educational Facilities Become a Permanent Trend or a Flash Fad?

solar energy

Utilizing solar energy has been on the rise over the past few years, and it has also undergone many advances that have been beneficial for reducing emissions. Reducing emissions has been a main goal among energy conservationists, and requirements have been put into place for federal and commercial facilities.

But is it just a fad? Based on the efforts of the government and many other dedicated organizations, solar energy is here to stay. It will only become more prominent in the future based on advances in solar energy and the requirements and laws being put in place.

Learn more about solar energy and the steps that we’ve been taking toward it to reduce emissions.

Emission-Reducing Efforts

The Energy Independence and Security Act was signed in 2007. According to the act, “The three key provisions enacted are the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards, the Renewable Fuel Standard, and the appliance/lighting efficiency standards.” This act requires federal facilities to reduce their energy use for both new and existing facilities.

This act also details the Net-Zero Energy Commercial Buildings Initiative. This initiative began in August 2008 and is “the overarching effort of the Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Program which aims to achieve marketable net-zero energy commercial buildings (NZEBSs) by 2025,” according to the initiative.

Federal facilities must work toward emissions reduction by following the goals of Executive Order 13693. Established in 2015, the executive order details the official planning of federal sustainability all the way into the next decade. It discusses improving environmental performance and federal sustainability by reducing energy and cost while also researching and obtaining renewable or alternative energy solutions.

New Solar Energy Technology

Facility managers are finding advanced ways to meet emissions requirements, which has led to new developments that we haven’t yet seen in facilities that exist today. Facilitiesnet.com reviews these new developments.

Perovskites: These materials, found by Northwestern University and the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, is less costly when used in solar panel production than the silicon-based materials that are typically used in solar panels. Though the product isn’t available in stores yet and will need to be further researched, more people will be able to afford less costly solar panels.

Nanotechnologies: The US National Nanotechnology Initiative has been utilizing nanoparticles and nanostructures within solar energy technology to improve light absorption and increase the conversion of light energy into electrical energy. Other benefits include lower production costs, lower installation costs, and higher efficiency.

Solar windows: Solar windows have a liquid coating that uses the energy from the sun. This liquid turns the windows into electricity generators.

Facility managers must adhere to strict requirements, and utilizing these new developments allows them to do so affordably and efficiently.

While the most effective and affordable methods and tools for incorporating solar energy into facilities are still being developed, they’re well underway and will be beneficial far into the future. Click here to find out where to buy sustainable products for your facility from Scranton Products.

How Much Do You Know About Your Building’s Carbon Footprint?

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Air Pollution
Lately, we’ve been more aware of our actions and what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. But are we taking into consideration the buildings we construct and work in and visit every day?

According to the US Green Building Council, buildings account for 39% of the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States each year. Commercial and residential buildings account for more carbon dioxide emissions annually than any other sector and more than any other country except for China.

It’s important that we’re not just aware of our own carbon footprint but also the ones left by our buildings, especially due to the large impact on the environment.

Learn more about buildings and emissions in the United States and what you can do to reduce emissions.

Understanding Building-Related Emissions

To reduce the energy that your building uses, it’s important to first understand greenhouse gas emissions. They can be broken up into two types: direct emissions from the on-site combustion of fuels used for heating and cooking, and emissions from the end use of electricity to heat, cool, and power a building.

Emissions can be reduced by cutting down on the energy supply used in the building both in the design and construction phase and after production.

Factors Contributing to Building Emissions

You should look at some key areas when determining what actions to take to reduce energy consumption. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions details these categories as embodied energy, building design, building envelope, on-site or distributed generation, and energy end uses in building.

Embodied energy is the energy required to extract, manufacture, transport, install, and dispose of building materials. This category is more about substituting bio-based products to reduce the building’s emissions.

Building design refers to the building’s overall architecture and engineering. Being aware of emissions from the initial design can help to determine the amount of lighting, heating, and cooling that’s used.

Building envelope is “the interface between the interior of a building and the outdoor environment.” Energy shouldn’t seep from the building because this will require using more of it.

On-site or distributed generation refers to the energy produced at the point of use. This can include renewable sources, fossil fuel sources, and small energy storage systems.

Energy end uses in buildings include utilizing efficient technologies that can reduce emissions by moderating energy use, which will also lower your monthly utility bills.

Incorporating Low-Emission Products into Your Building

When constructing a building, it’s important to use products that support a healthy environment. Scranton Products are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which reduces the environmental impact and offers initial and long-term improvements to the indoor air quality of your facility.

If you’re interested in using Scranton Products’ bathroom dividers, lockers, and other materials for your facility, click here to learn where to buy them.

The Importance of the Green Movement in Your Own Backyard: Why Scranton Products Supports USGBC Central PA

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Earlier in the year, Scranton Products sponsored the USGBC Central PA 2016 Kick Off Party at the Governors Residence in Harrisburg. David Casal of Scranton Products also spoke at the event about the importance of using sustainable materials in design of buildings.

The USGBC of Central Pennsylvania was originally founded as the Green Building Association of Central Pennyslvania when design and construction professionals “recognized the need to educate themselves and their colleagues about sustainability.”

This is an idea that is shared by Scranton Products, whose products are made from recycled materials and contain pre-consumer and post-consumer content. They also resist mold, mildew, fungus and bacteria and offer improved air quality to your facility.

Learn more about taking advantage of these sustainable products and how you can help do your part in the green movement.

Ecosystem

About USGBC in Central Pennsylvania

According to the USGBC Central Pennsylvania Chapter, their mission is to ” is to promote environmentally responsible design, planning, construction and operation of the built environment through education, outreach and networking.” They also have a vision to create a sustainable built environment and that green practices become mainstream.

The USGBC aims to accomplish this mission with a list of the following goals:

  • Goal 1: Increase market demand for sustainable building practices in Central Pennsylvania
  • Goal 2: Develop top-notch educational opportunities in the region.
  • Goal 3: Ensure that the USGBC Central Pennsylvania Chapter serves as the region’s premier source of reliable information about green building technology
  • Goal 4: Secure USGBC Central Pennsylvania Chapter’s organizational capacity and stability
  • Goal 5: Represent the diverse needs of the region and leader the community in sustainable solutions in the built environment
  • Goal 6: Advocate for sustainable practices, materials, and products through legislation at state and local government levels

One way the USGBC has been on accomplishing these goals is with the Green Apple Day of Service. They host three different types of events for schools that are interested in participating, including new projects, educational awareness and maintenance projects.

New projects can be planting a garden or trees or painting a mural. Educational awareness is a program that helps students of all grade levels understand the importance of sustainability and green buildings. Maintenance projects are aimed toward improving the school facility’s air quality, energy use, waste or water consumption.

Scranton Products’ Green Products

Scranton Products is dedicated to providing you with products that are safe for the environment and safe for your facility. All bathroom partitions and lockers are Greenguard Gold Certified. Greenguard Gold certification offers stricter certification criteria, considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as elderly and children) and ensures that products are acceptable for use in environments such as healthcare facilities.

If you’re interested in improving your facility with better quality air and sustainable products, click here to learn where to buy Scranton Products.





Sustainable Building Products




Incorporating Natural Capital in Architecture with the United Nation’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

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Ecosystem

Natural capital is a term that’s used to describe the method of ecosystem evaluation that considers the earth’s natural resources as the basis for economic viability, meaning that the health of our forests, air, and water is directly linked to that of our market. For example, a forest includes short-term provisions, including lumber, as well as long-term benefits, such as air and water purification.

Global standards put in place by operations such as the United Nation’s System of Environmental-Economic Accounting help to keep natural capital in balance.

As an architect, one goal may be to apply natural capital to a project. This would require the team to develop a plan that incorporates the site’s natural value rather than just the economics of the job. This means, the architect and the design team must work closely to generate designs that follow this ideology.

To help this process, the United Nations’ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) analyzes the impact of humanity on the environment and helps to understand the depths and breadth of ecosystem services.

Four Categories of Ecosystem Services

To assist the architect and design teams with an innovative approach, the MA outlines four categories of ecosystem services: cultural, provisioning, regulating and supporting services.

Cultural: These types of provisions aren’t material items. Instead, they’re inspiration benefits that come in spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, and other aesthetic experiences. Witnessing other forms of architecture in nature allows architects to take this value and utilize it to make their own contribution to the environment.

Provisioning: These are products that we obtain from ecosystems, such as raw materials, water, food, and energy. When design teams adopt a natural capital framework, there’s a more intensified focus on provisioning services than the general recognition for the importance of recycled products and energy conservation.

For example, Beijing-based People’s Architecture Office created a reuse project, Courtyard House Plugin, the transforms dilapidated housing into useful contemporary habitats with minimal additional resources.

Regulating: These fundamental natural processes are often missed design opportunities and are benefits that come from ongoing monitoring of the ecosystem, including air and water purification, climate regulation, storm protection, waste treatment and pollination. Identifying the site’s potential can lead to design strategies with measurable outcomes. Theses strategies could lead to the support of regulating service, which can maintain goals such as climate regulation.

Supporting services: Supporting services reveal the largest disconnect between conventional design practices and ecological thinking. These services are necessary for ecosystem functions and include primary production, nutrient and water cycling, oxygen production, soil formation, and habitat provisioning. These services show an impact over an extended period of time rather than direct impacts that the other services produce.

One example is a masonry unit called Loom Studio’s Egg Block. This company supports bird nesting.

Scranton Products’ sustainable products support a healthier environment and offer both initial and long-term improvements to the indoor air quality of your projects. Click here to find out where you can buy Scranton Products.





Sustainable Building Products




Hazards & Health Risks Lurking at Your Local Community Pool

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Whether you’re trying to escape the heat of summer or getting some regular exercise, a public pool can be a fun and relatively inexpensive way to enjoy your favorite water activities. However, there could be hidden dangers that you’re not aware of. Understanding the possible hazards and health risks at your local community pool can help you to protect yourself and your family.

If you’re an administrator or the manager of a public pool facility, this post will provide you with actionable tips for keeping your facility safe.

Locker Room Rust

When a building’s main feature is a few thousand gallons of water, it’s understandable that things will get wet. However, when water comes in contact with iron, rust is a serious concern. As a form of corrosion, rust can eat away at metal surfaces inside the pool’s locker room. This can include the lockers themselves as well other metal fixtures like benches.

When rust gets into the air, it can irritate the eyes, similar to the way dust does. It can also lead to stomach irritation if ingested accidentally. Inhaling rust particles is particularly concerning, since long-term exposure can lead to siderosis, a condition in which iron deposits build up in the lungs.

One way to keep rust to a minimum is to replace metal fixtures with other materials. HDPE, for example, is resistant to rust and corrosion, making it perfect for use in locker rooms. This highly durable plastic can be used for lockers, locker room benches and bathroom partitions.

Bacteria in the Showers

Although we use showers to get clean, these areas can be some of the dirtiest places in the pool building. Particularly, the partitions that separate one shower stall from the next can act as bacteria landing pads as the germs splash off the occupant and onto the surface of the partition. If not cleaned properly by the janitorial staff, these surfaces can continue to be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

This is another area where HDPE plastic can offer some assistance. In addition to good cleaning practices, HDPE is resistant to bacteria. By being a poor surface for bacteria to live and multiply on, it helps to keep the showers and the rest of the locker room cleaner and healthier.

Chlorine

We all know about chlorine’s unpleasant smell, but did you also know that it could be potentially life threatening? Chlorine is used in pools because it helps to kill bacteria and fight off algae, but when it comes in contact with certain impurities in the water, it can produce haloacetic acids, which have been linked to cancer and birth defects.

To keep swimmers safe, pool officials should keep a close eye on the water’s pH and acidity levels. Proper cleaning should also be enforced to reduce impurities. Swimmers should never ingest pool water and always wash skin thoroughly after swimming in a chlorinated pool.

We hope you found this article on hazards and health risks at your community pool helpful. If you’d like to know more about HDPE and how it can improve the safety of your public pool, contact us at Scranton Products. 

Why You Need to Care about ASTM Standards

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Bathroom When you’re purchasing products for your facility, you want to make sure they’re long-lasting and high-quality. You also want to make sure they’re safe for use and they perform the way they’re supposed to. The products in your facility are investments and it’s crucial that they are the deliverables you’re in need of. ASTM (The American Society for Testing and Materials) will help you determine whether your products adhere to these standards.

What are ASTM Standards?

ASTM is recognized globally as a leader in development and delivery of voluntary consensus standards. Over 12,000 ASTM standards are used all over the world to improve product quality, enhance health and safety, strengthen market access and trade, and to let customers know they can count on products. ASTM serves many industries, such as metals, construction, petroleum, consumer products and more. Standards have been developed in accordance with the guiding principles of the World Trade Organization. These standards are used by individuals, companies and institutions globally. Government regulators cite standards in laws, regulations and codes.

How is an ASTM standard developed?

A member of an ASTM technical committee will identify a need to develop a standard. Group members will prepare a draft standard and it is then reviewed by its parent subcommittee.

Why is this important?

When individuals, companies, or institutions have products that adhere to ASTM standards, their products are proven to be reliable. Many tests are performed to find out vital information about the products and what they have to offer consumers. Consumers can rest assured knowing that the products they are purchasing will be effective and perform the way they expect it to. They also know that the standards make these products safe for use so that they’re not in danger. These standards also allow suppliers to know that their products are top notch and they’re offering the best quality to their customers.

Do Scranton Products adhere to ASTM standards?

Scranton Products are durable, sustainable and microbial resistance. HDPE plastic exhibited no microbial growth during a 21 day testing period which was conducted in accordance with ASTM D3293. While HDPE was microbial free, Phenolic had mold and mildew growth. The durability of Scranton Products also adheres to ASTM standards. The abrasion resistance of various bathroom partition materials was measured in accordance with ASTM G195, which resulted in HDPE having the best abrasion resistance with the lowest surface wear. Based on graffiti resistance, Scranton Products adheres to ASTM standards. Testing was conducted in accordance with ASTM D6578 which provides a standard set of conditions that can be used to evaluate the graffiti resistance of a surface. Seven marking agents and six cleaning products were used in the evaluation to show that HDPE is graffiti resistant utilizing no specialized maintenance procedure or additional coating. ASTM standards go a long way in proving how valuable a product is. Click here to find out where you can buy Scranton Products.





Sustainable Building Products




The Environmentally Friendly Secret Weapon Every Building Should Have

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When designing or remodeling a building, facility owners are faced with many challenges. The two most common needs for a building concept are aesthetically pleasing designs and durable features, but a commonly forgotten yet important aspect is a strong environmental impact. But how can you build a facility and incorporate sustainable materials at the same time?

While unknown by many building owners or facility managers, there’s an environmentally friendly secret weapon that every building should have. You can read on to learn about the sustainable benefits of HDPE plastic materials.

Recyclable

The recycling loop works at its highest level when buildings purchase materials made from post-consumer recycled products but are also recyclable so they can be disposed of in an efficient manner. This process helps to reduce industrial waste, but not all facility and building materials are able to contribute.

HDPE plastic materials are available with up to 100% post-consumer products in order to provide facility managers with the ability to support the recycling loop. And with 100% recycling material, you can dispose of these products in an environmentally friendly way when you’re remodeling or renovating. HDPE secretly provides this added sustainability while other common building materials, such as phenolic or solid color reinforced composite, do not.

Non-Chemical Dependent

Many facility owners constantly experience a need for expensive chemical cleaners in order to efficiently clean their building materials. This is especially common in restrooms, where germs are frequent. However, these harmful cleaners usually have concerns surrounding their production and impact on indoor air quality.

Thankfully, if you choose materials made of HDPE plastic, you won’t need to worry about these harmful chemicals. HDPE plastic can be power washed or steam cleaned. And since it’s built with a solid color throughout and scratch resistant, facility owners won’t have to reapply chemically infused paints to cover up fading or marks.

Free of Urea-Formaldehyde Resins

While you may not be able to see them, many facility and building products have added urea-formaldehyde resins worked into them. While used to increase durability, this type of resin can be harmful for the air around your building. Your patrons will be in jeopardy of moderate to severe allergic reactions that could result in anything from a runny nose to difficulty breathing.

While HDPE plastic helps to improve and maintain an environmentally friendly and healthy air quality level by staying free of added urea-formaldehyde resins, other building and facility materials, such as phenolic, do not.

HDPE is an environmentally friendly secret weapon that every building should have. Not only is the material customizable for design and durability, but it also features a number of sustainable benefits that facility managers have the opportunity to take advantage of.

Scranton Products features a number of HDPE plastic materials near you that you can add into your building. You can also take a look at our continuing education courses to learn more about the beneficial environmental impact of HDPE.

Healthcare Gone Green: How Eco-Friendly Buildings Benefit More Than the Environment

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An eco-friendly facility or building is something to be proud of. In a day and age where the world needs all hands on deck to conserve as many natural resources as possible, doing your part to be environmentally conscious will not only make you feel great but will help make a difference. However, from a business standpoint, eco-friendly buildings have the opportunity to benefit more than just the environment.

Scranton Products wants all facility owners to continue to make environmentally conscious decisions when remodeling or renovating their buildings, but we also want you to be aware of how you can benefit from this path of material sourcing and usage. Continue reading to learn how eco-friendly buildings benefit more than just the environment.

Sanitary Benefit for Producer and End User

An eco-friendly building is constructed with environmentally friendly materials that are post-consumer based and 100% recyclable. While this contributes to decreasing the amount of industrial waste, it also helps to create sanitary products for facility owners and patrons. When you make an effort to turn your building into an eco-friendly one, you’ll need to use materials that don’t contain vast amounts of chemicals, which benefits you and your users in numerous ways.

The lack of chemicals used in the production of your materials will help to increase the level of air quality inside your facility. In fact, for your building to receive LEED certification, a globally recognized certifier for eco-friendly buildings, your facility must show that it promotes healthy air quality for everyone inside.

Another improvement that eco-friendly buildings will benefit from is the overall health of your patrons who use your facility. Sustainable products tend to be more resistant to germs, bacteria, mold, and mildew. For a facility that needs new materials for its bathrooms or new lockers, this is a significantly important aspect, as it directly pertains to the health of your customers.

Low Maintenance

With an eco-friendly building, you can use materials and products that require low levels of maintenance. All-natural products that resist mold, bacteria, germs, scratches, or dents require fewer repairs, therefore saving you money in the long run. Having an environmentally friendly facility or building that supports our changing environment is important, but having one that will cost you less money over time because of low maintenance will benefit you even more.

There are many beneficial qualities of opting for an eco-friendly building. While you’re doing your part to reduce environmental waste and close the loop of recycling, you can also do your part to create a cleaner and sturdier facility.

The many great qualities of a sustainable building is precisely why Scranton Products works to deliver eco-friendly materials. With our HDPE plastic base, you can use recyclable, durable, and sanitary materials to positively boost your building’s environmental impact.

You can find Scranton Products materials near you to see how you can start supporting our environment.