Did you know?
In the USA the Empire State Building was the first architectural construction to use aluminium in structures. Due to its strength and flexibility to be used in complex designs and its resistance to corrosion it became the ideal choice in 1930’s construction. Completed in 1931, the building’s basic structure and components were completed in aluminium, with the interior and lobby also finished with the material.
Aluminium is now readily available across the globe and advancements in production processes have allowed its best strengths to be magnified. Building designs are more adventurous, taller and more energy efficient.
Why do we call it the green metal?
It is known to be one of the most environmentally friendly metals due to its sustainability, it can continuously be recycled into different products. Recycling aluminium uses 95% less energy than producing aluminium from raw materials. Complementing its environmental value is the fact its corrosion resistant, this negates the need to replace corroded metals which reduces the need for service visits reducing the carbon footprint.
Buildings built using aluminium instead of other materials are not only robust but also recyclable and environmentally sustainable. Aluminium can be manipulated without breaking, plus it adds better thermal efficiency which again adds to the environmental impact of building.
Strong, lightweight and almost 100% recyclable
Aluminium can be recycled over and over without loss of properties, ensuring that the high value of aluminium scrap remains a strong incentive and financial impetus for recycling. This can only benefit future generations by conserving energy and saving up to 95% of the energy required for primary production, therefore avoiding corresponding emissions, which include greenhouse gases.
Important issues to note are:
- The quality of aluminium is not impaired by endlessly recycling.
- Re-smelting aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy needed to produce the primary product.
- It is the most cost-effective material to recycle.
- The overall market for used aluminium is steadily growing, the more aluminium in a product,
the more chance it has of being recycled.
- The recycling rate of used aluminium products in buildings is between 85-95%
The main uses of aluminium are evident in the construction of windows, doors, curtain walling and facades. These can be seen across many types of building from a high street shopfront to big structures such as football stadiums, shopping developments and other major construction. Commercial windows and doors must meet a range of factors and be environmentally sustainable, be weather resistant, secure and energy efficient.
Two-thirds of the energy required to extract aluminium is supplied by environmentally friendly, hydroelectric power. Couple this with the cradle-to-cradle recyclability of aluminium, presents aluminium as the ideal choice for facades and the construction industry.
Here are some aluminium facts that you might find interesting:
- One tonne of recycled aluminium saves around 9 tonnes of carbon emissions (which is the equivalent of driving 25,200 miles), as well as 4 tonnes of the raw material aluminium is made from.
- Aluminium can be recycled infinitely to create the exact same product. It is also highly corrosion-resistant, reducing installation revisits and material wastage.
- Recycling aluminium saves up to 97% of greenhouse gases used in the primary production process of the metal.
- A tonne of aluminium that has been recycled saves 1663 gallons of oil, 10 cubic of landfill space and 14,000 kWh of electricity.
- Thanks to unmatched corrosion resistance and durability, aluminium is widely used to build renewable energy products like solar panels and wind turbines, yet another reason why aluminium contributes to the sustainability movement.
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