Why Aluminum’s Good for the Green
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Aluminum is the current darling of the construction trade for its ubiquitous utility in the green building construction market, especially when recycled.
From vast external building structures to delicate window blinds, lightweight (steel weighs 35 to 65 percent more than aluminum) solar installations to decorative doorframe canopies, this durable, high-strength, corrosion-resistant, and splendidly recyclable metal is increasingly the material of choice for a great number of manufactured green building projects.
To offer guidance on this front, the Aluminum Association has produced a set of green building guidelines. “Aluminum in Green Buildings—A Guide to Environmental Declarations” looks to help builders figure out how to best use the stuff.
Here is a wealth of information, including advice on how to conduct environmental assessments for aluminum building products, make environmental declarations (a standardized way of quantifying the environmental impact of a product or system), and exploit the unique characteristics of the metal.
The guide also offers data on the metal’s life-cycle characteristics and environmental performance. It also notes the results of the aluminum industry’s sustainability research and studies, all with a focus on the metal’s relevance to the green-building trade.
Aluminum’s top billing as a green building superstar is because of its various properties, including:
Energy costs and efficiency: Aluminum enables controlled, balanced functioning among HVAC and lighting systems.
Renewable energy systems: Aluminum’s lightweight strength makes it good for photovoltaic solar thermal devices.
Cool roofs: Aluminum’s a smart pick for roofs, as roof or light-coloured coating.
End-of-life recycling: Aluminum components can generally be recycled in one go that uses up to 92% less energy than the primary production process and 92% fewer greenhouse gases. And because the metal has a high scrap value, most aluminum used in construction reaches the recycling channel.
“Aluminum in Green Buildings—A Guide to Environmental Declarations” is available online on the Aluminum Association’s website.