Aluminium re-cycling - A sustainable solution

Aluminium re-cycling - A sustainable solution

With 'eco' and sustainability issues at the top of the global 'green issues' agenda, the building industry is now more than ever under close scrutiny. The aluminium industry is making a positive and proven contribution and global recycling rates are high, up to 90% for construction and transport applications against 60% for beverage cans. The fact that 100% of aluminium can be recycled at the end of its design life creates an aluminium bank for re-use in the future and 5% of the original energy required from primary extraction is required at re-smelting. 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.

Therefore, as a well-established valuable cradle-to-cradle material, aluminium really does offer the solution to today’s serious sustainability concerns. 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 local high street glazed shopfront to the superstructure of a stadium or flagship shopping development.

Architects have been aware of aluminium’s unique qualities for over a century. Aluminium being one of the most globally abundant metals available, its formability, high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance and ease of recycling make it the ideal material for a variety of building applications. Commercial windows and doors must meet a myriad of functions and be environmentally sustainable, weather resistant, secure and energy efficient.

There is a raft of legislation to deal with each element of these demands: BS 7950, Secured by Design, BS 6375, U value calculations, Window Energy Ratings (WERs), Eco-homes grading.

Recognising the importance of the sustainability debate, Comar Architectural Aluminium Systems have the Comar 5P.i. ECO window system which offers the unique cradle-to-cradle properties of aluminium, as well as answering current demands. Comar 5P.i. ECO has just passed BS 7950 at BRE, which provides compliance with Secured By Design. The weather test BS 6375 provides even more reassurance: air permeability passed at 600Pa, water tightness at 750Pa, wind resistance at 2400Pa and design safety at 3600Pa. Comar 7Pi HSD, a horizontal sliding door system also meets ever increasing demands for energy efficient building materials, this system has been developed for applications where high specification and elegant solutions are a key design considerations e.g. offices, schools, hospitals and apartments. The sliding system has been rigorously tested in wet and sandy conditions, borne out with over 200,000 open/close cycles.

Both systems incorporate the trademarked P.i thermal efficiency providing low U values. P.i is a 20 to 35mm polyamide strip manufactured from reinforced glass fibre, which separates the inner and outer profiles, creating an extremely effective thermal break. These are backed up by Comar’s Technical Department, offering project by project U-value support.

Comar Architectural Aluminium Systems is the largest British, privately owned aluminium systems company in Europe. Comar designs, extrudes and distributes over 700 integrated profiles to a Nationwide approved fabricator network for use in aluminium ground floor treatment, window, door and curtain-walling applications.

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