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Private home on grassy hill in Stavelot, Belgium.
09 Mar 2022

The life cycle of aluminium

A crucial step in your green building project is the choice of sustainable materials. Luckily, a life cycle analysis (LCA) can help you choose the most responsible solution. How does this method work? And what does it tell about the recyclability of aluminium? Find out here.

A life cycle analysis evaluates the environmental impact of products throughout their entire life, from raw material to final disposal – or what we call “end of life”. In the current building industry, recyclability has become a very important subject as companies start evaluating the life cycle of their core materials. Here we focus on the main component of our window, door, and curtain wall solutions: aluminium.

Detail of abstract aluminium façade.

Aluminium life cycle analysis

Data leads to knowledge. That is why AluEco, a foundation that promotes sustainability and recyclability in the construction industry, commissioned a study on the environmental properties of aluminium façade elements. The study is based on the LCA method and was held in cooperation with the Association of Metal Windows and Facade Industry (VMRG) and the Association of Industrial Surface Treatment Netherlands (ION).

AluEco and its partners conducted the life cycle analysis of aluminium profiles for both powder-coated and anodised surface treatment. What turns out? Aluminium façade elements have a lifetime of at least 75 years and a minimum of 95% can be recovered through recycling. In theory, this means façade components can have a total lifetime of 1,500 years!

Aluminium façades have a lifetime of 75 years and are at least 95% recyclable.

What does this mean for building professionals? For example, this validated report can be used to determine a rating, which is an environmental certification procedure for buildings. Moreover, architects, building advisors or fabricators can make calculations and design solutions with the correct environmental properties of the aluminium façade elements in mind.

Endless recyclability

In addition to its aesthetic, extremely durable and energy-efficient properties, aluminium offers excellent results in terms of sustainability and recyclability as well. And unlike many other building materials, aluminium does not lose its characteristics in the recycling process. Enjoy unrivalled quality and performance at all times

Interior view of lofty conservatory in Riparo, Italy.

At Reynaers Aluminium, we are constantly investigating innovative ways to improve the recyclability of our products – without loss of quality. For instance, by recycling as much aluminium scrap as possible, we can close the aluminium circle more easily and create new window and door profiles from recycled materials, forever. It is circularity at its finest.

Copyright

Private House Stavelot 1 – Crahay & Jamaigne Architectes (architects), Laurent Brandajs (photographer)
Riparo in Bellavista – Daniele Baiotto & Marco Mancini – Meow Architettura (architects); Laura Cantarella (photographer)