In order to communicate reliable environmental data to the building sector, the aluminium industry has developed regional Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for aluminium building products in line with international standards.
An EPD is the most comprehensive and transparent type of environmental information, designed for business-to-business communication. It takes into account the whole product life cycle and computes environmental data in a “cradle to grave” approach in order to calculate a set of internationally recognized indicators, such as “use of primary energy”, “greenhouse gas emission” or “water consumption”.
The European Aluminium EPD programme addresses “Products for building applications where Aluminium contributes significantly to the product’s performance characteristics“ and has been developed in accordance with the following international standards:
- ISO 21930:2007 Sustainability in building construction – Environmental declaration of building products
- ISO 14025:2006 Environmental labels and declarations – Type III environmental declarations – Principles and procedures
- ISO 14040:2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework
- ISO 14044:2006 Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guideline
With car manufacturers such as Jaguar, BMW, Audi and Ford increasing the use of aluminium in car engineering and design, the benefits to the customer and to the environment are notable.
More than 20% of the cars produced in Europe have an aluminium hood and several high-performance sports car bodies, such as Ferrari and Lotus, are also produced in aluminium.
In the last 50 years, additional aluminium content has been the result of replacing cast iron (engine blocks and transmission housings), mild steel (car bodies and wheels), and copper (radiators). While historically aluminium has been used in automobiles primarily in the form of castings, in recent years automotive engineers have increasingly applied the wide variety of aluminium product forms such as extrusions, stamped sheet parts and forgings in chassis and suspension, crash management and other structural applications.
The Aluminum Association has developed EPDs for the following North American aluminium products:
Aluminium sheet and plate rolled at a high temperature. Plate and thicker-gauge sheet may be used for structural applications including aircraft and aerospace.
Companies are required to ensure that BRDAs comply with the respective environmental standards. Modern BRDA guidelines will include both general and location-specific design criteria such as soil conditions, earthquake risk, long term stability and management of storm events. Careful monitoring ensures structural integrity is maintained.
Previously hot-rolled sheet subsequently rolled at or near room temperature to make the metal thinner and stronger. Often used to make building roofs and wall plates, sheet for transportation applications and packaging material.
This method minimises the land area required for storage and the risk of leakage to groundwater. Rehabilitation and closure costs are greatly reduced and the material is in a more readily usable form. For sites with a constrained space this approach can often present the best option.
Aluminium that is fed through a hydraulic press to make profiles. Often used to make building windows, doors, curtain walls, automotive parts, as well as various consumer durable products.
The water reclaimed from the surface is pumped back to the plant to recover and recycle the soluble sodium salts. Dry stacked residue is often “under-drained” to improve the consolidation of the residue and recover further water for re-use in the refinery. The combination of dry stacking and a well drained deposits leads to a very stable deposit of residue.
Raw material produced directly from bauxite and used to make cast, rolled or extruded aluminium.
Raw material produced from recycled aluminum and used to make cast, rolled or extruded aluminium.
“Environmental Product Declaration tools are the most comprehensive and transparent type of environmental information. To ensure quality control both the aluminium industry tool and the life cycle data has been externally verified by Five Winds International.”