Application of Biopolymers as Sustainable Cladding Materials: A Review
The application of biopolymer materials in cladding presents a promising avenue for enhancing building sustainability, while addressing the limitations of conventional synthetic polymers. Cladding serves a dual purpose of protection and aesthetics for buildings, but increasing global energy consumption and environmental concerns necessitate the adoption of sustainable practices. The construction sector&rsquo;s substantial energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions highlight the urgent need for sustainable building materials. Conventional cladding materials often lack sustainability and environmental compatibility. Biopolymers, derived from living organisms or by-products, offer a potential solution with their biodegradability, renewability, and low embodied energy. These materials can revolutionise cladding practices by providing eco-friendly alternatives aligned with sustainable construction demands. Integrating biopolymers with synthetic polymers can enhance material biodegradability, contributing to overall degradation. Prominent biopolymers like PLA, PHAs, starch-based polymers, cellulose, PHB, and PBS exhibit biodegradability and sustainability, positioning them in the front rank for cladding applications. Despite significant research in biopolymer applications in different fields, there is limited research to identify the application and limitations of biopolymers as building cladding materials. This review paper aims to bridge the research gaps by comprehensively analysing diverse biopolymer cladding materials based on their properties and exploring their cross-domain utility, thereby highlighting their transformative role in sustainable construction practices. The expanding biopolymer market in building cladding materials underscores their potential to drive innovation, with projected growth emphasising their importance.