The intrinsic qualities of aluminium, its infinite recyclability, strength and lightness, durability and low maintenance qualities mean it is one of the most sustainable building materials that can be used.
Aluminium is the earth's third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon (ahead of iron).
Aluminium does not emit dust, vapour or particles and is not toxic to touch.
Given its durability and resistance due to applied surface treatments such as anodising or powder coating, aluminium structures need only regular cleaning with neutral detergents followed by rinsing with water.
Aluminium is non-flammable and, when it reaches its melting point in the event of a fire (about 650°C), it gives off no flammable gases or vapours.
Recycling is a valuable asset in the battle against the greenhouse effect. The global aluminium industry has made great strides during the last century to reduce its environmental impact at all stages of the supply chain. Aluminium extraction and refining companies have reduced their energy requirements by almost 70% since 1900.
Aluminium extraction has seen the growing use of hydro-electric energy coupled with a vast increase in aluminium that is recycled. At present more than a third of global aluminium production is from recycled metal, a figure that is growing. Recycled aluminium takes just 5% of the energy needed to produce primary metal with a consequent reduction of 95% in the greenhouse gases produced.
The recycling process is economically attractive and viable. Recycled aluminium meets almost 40% of the demand for the metal in Europe. Approximately 70% of the material used to produce Metal Technology extrusions is recycled.
Aluminium is infinitely recyclable with no loss of its properties.
The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has investigated the collection rate of aluminium in buildings. Demolition case studies in six different European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) were carried out and the data collected shows that collection rates are over 95%.