Aluminum Extrusions + Glass: A Sustainable Choice for LEED Projects
Aluminum extrusions offer engineers, architects, and designers attributes which provide solutions that are infinitely recyclable and meet the sustainability and environmental demands of today’s commercial workplaces.According to the Aluminum Extruders Council Environmental Product Declaration, aluminum extrusions are highly recyclable. During extrusion manufacturing, most process and new scrap is fed back into the billet production process. At the end of life, aluminum scrap is collected and sold – via a well-established infrastructure — to secondary smelting operations for billet production.
Numerous extruders operate their own secondary smelting facilities in addition to purchasing billet from independent secondary smelters. The recycling rate for aluminum products has proven to be quite high with recycling rates of 90 – 95%, documented in high volume automotive and construction sectors.
In addition to aluminum extrusions, glass is also recyclable and more environmentally friendly than alternative building materials making it a greener choice. Architectural glass production uses less energy – from the mining of natural resources to the processing, manufacturing, transportation, and product delivery, than many other conventional building materials. Glass can reduce energy consumption and can be repeatedly re-used. Glass production also produces less waste as most waste can be remelted and used to produce new glass. Sustainable glass wall solutions have been at the forefront of PC350 solutions for many years.
“For many years our solutions have provided efficiencies that reduce consumption” says PC350 President, Kim Agar. “PC350 locally sources items made from recyclable materials which uphold our on-going commitment to sustainability and reducing climate change.”
All PC350 glass is also sourced locally which reduces the company’s carbon footprint and provides for much faster lead times. Demountable glass wall solutions can also be used again to align with ever changing or unforeseen circumstances like Covid-19.
The Pandemic and Sustainable Glass Wall Solutions
Due to the pandemic, there is a growing movement to create collaborative, open and sustainable workspaces. Natural light, sleek aesthetics and productive workspaces have become key components to making the pandemic office as attractive as possible.
As a building material, interior glass allows designers and architects to divide a room, without sacrificing floor space and light diffusion. Sustainable glass wall solutions and glass partitions are ideal for creating comfortable and practical office working environments. Natural light changes how shapes, colours, patterns, textures, and people interact, and glass walls are one of the simplest ways to update an office or commercial space.
Cognitive Market Research shows that the market by application is also growing well into 2027 with increases nearing 30%.
PC350 Sustainable Solutions: A Smart Choice for LEED Projects
PC350 uses recycled content aluminum from Canada’s largest and most advanced producer of remelt aluminum billet. Aluminum products are made from extrusions manufactured 45 kilometers away that are extruded from casts processed 10 kilometers from the extruders.
“Given the fact that aluminum and glass are infinitely recyclable, PC350 is a smart choice for LEED projects,” says Agar.
Recycling aluminum reduces the use of primary aluminum which ultimately reduces the need for strip mining. However, PC350 wanted to align with a remelt producer that did more than just recycle aluminum.
Using electromagnetic stirring in the melt process, energy loss is reduced in dross (salt cake waste) is minimized. Dross is typically sent to the landfills. Waste heat from the remelt processes recovered to significantly improve the energy efficiency of the process and the water used is reclaimed, treated, and reused, reducing the need for large amounts of portable water.
PC350 Products: No Impact on Energy or Water
“The remelt plant that we use for all of our recycled content billets is one of only four state-of-the-art facilities in North America and it is the only one of its kind in Canada,” says Agar. “PC350 has been a pioneer in aluminum extrusions and was committed to sustainable solutions long before the demand for sustainability started. Our glass wall solutions are 100% recyclable.”
What are Recycled Materials Composed Of?
Half of all scrap used in PC350’s remelt billets are in the form of post-consumer materials consisting of the following items which are sourced from the Greater Toronto Area:
- truck wheels
- car wheels
- coils, plate and sheet
LEED Materials + Resources Credits
PC350 hired an external consulting firm to analyze our aluminum products down to an exact percentage that we can provide to our clients with absolute certainty.
PC350s aluminum extrusions are produced in local, Canadian owned extrusion plants. See chart below:
Each year, PC350 will analyze these percentages and alter the numbers where necessary, be it a positive or negative change we will currently state 21.62% of our aluminium is “post-consumer” while 57.06% is “pre-consumer/post-industrial content” for an overall total of 78.68% total recycled content in our aluminum frames. (“LEED DESIGN+ETHICS – PC350”)
Our proximity to the remote factory in our extruders is quite beneficial in helping our clients achieve points towards Materials + Resources Credits 5.1 + 5.2- Regional Materials for LEED projects.