Why is aluminium environmentally friendly?
Tuesday, 2 March 2021
Known as the green metal, aluminium is one of the most environmentally friendly metals because of its sustainability. As the most recyclable industrial material, aluminium can be recycled infinitely to produce the same product. Recycling aluminium also saves 95% of the energy used in its production from raw materials.
Not only does recycling aluminium reduce its environmental impact, but the metal’s properties mean that it can often be used to replace more environmentally harmful materials. In construction, aluminium is used 74% of the time in place of timber during the development of residential properties, reducing deforestation. Aluminium also requires less maintenance compared to timber.
As aluminium is particularly easy to handle, the environmental impact is further reduced when it’s used in construction as transportation costs are reduced.
Recycling aluminium facts
- Recycling aluminium saves 97% of greenhouse gases used in the primary production process
- One tonne of recycled aluminium saves nine tonnes of CO2 emissions and four tonnes of bauxite (the raw material that aluminium is made from). Nine tonnes of CO2 is the equivalent of driving 25,200 miles
- Recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV for around 3 hours
- One tonne of recycled aluminium saves 14,000 kWh of electricity, 1,663 gallons of oil and 10 cubic yards of landfill space
- Aluminium takes 200-500 years to fully breakdown in a landfill site
How is aluminium used in construction?
Aluminium is the most frequently used metal in the world as it is extremely versatile, lightweight, and durable. Buildings constructed using aluminium in place of other materials like titanium are not only robust but also recyclable and environmentally sustainable.
Aluminium alloys are used in many applications where strength and durability are needed simultaneously, for example in the construction of planes, vehicles and even skyscrapers.
Working with aluminium enables architects to be more creative with their designs because of its flexibility. Aluminium is also a suitable metal for building window frames as it can be rolled or hammered into extremely thin sheets without breaking. Another benefit to using aluminium for window frames during construction is the added thermal efficiency it provides, which again helps to make buildings more environmentally friendly.
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