Certified Environmental Product Declaration
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) has achieved a UL Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certification. The UL EPD certification mark indicates that UL has independently reviewed and certified the manufacturer's environmental impact disclosure that constitutes the EPD. For more information, visit ul.com/epd.
EPD - 2022 Mill Finished, Painted and Anodized
EPD - 2022 Aluminum Extrusion Thermally Improved
Environmental Product Declarations & Lifecycle Assessment
The AEC has recently completed updating its two aluminum extrusion Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and the corresponding Life Cycle Analysis. The new EPDs are based on 2020/21 data and replace the initial EPDs released in 2016. You can find the aluminum extrusion EPDs on the UL SPOT website here or download the EPDs on this page.
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have been called “Environmental Nutrition Labels” for materials and products, describing the potential environmental impact of a product through its life cycle.
EPDs for Aluminums’ Environmental Performance
The newly released 2022 Aluminum Extrusion EPDs provide a contemporary update to the October 2016 Aluminum Extruders Council's initial industry-wide set of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), documenting the environmental performance of aluminum extrusions produced in the U.S. and Canada. The EPDs provide information based on production data for 2020, and will be in effect through August 2027.
The EPDs quantify the "cradle-to-gate" lifecycle environmental impacts of aluminum extrusions. One EPD is for thermally-improved extrusions – of particular interest for fenestration applications – and one covers extrusions that have not been thermally improved. Both provide data for mill finish, painted and anodized products, so architects, engineers and product developers can assess the environmental impacts of finishing and thermal improvement decisions.
AEC Aluminum Extrusion LCA
A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) or EPD Background Report is the precursor to the EPD. In addition to presenting the conclusions shown in the EPD, it will provide additional detail about items such as:
- Inputs at each process step
- Secondary data sources employed
- Key assumptions & allocations
- Assessment of alternative scenarios re: key inputs
- Data quality & completeness assessment
The AEC EPD's are based on a detailed study of the process inputs and outputs of 8 AEC member extruders. Thirty separate facilities, located across the U.S. and Canada, with nearly 100 extrusion presses and a variety of finishing and thermal improvement facilities, were included in the study. In aggregate, extrusion production of 1.75 billion pounds, or about 38% of the North American total for 2020, was covered in the study.
Extrusions and Embodied Carbon
As these EPDs show, the predominant determination of CO2e for an aluminum extrusion is the feedstock – i.e. – the aluminum billet that is the raw material for the extrusion process:
- For extrusions that require the least intensive processing, i.e., standard extrusions in mill finish, the CO2e contribution to the module A1-A3 total from the extrusion process is less than 25%.
- For the product form that has most intensive processing – painted extrusion that is thermally enhanced -- the contribution from the extrusion/paint/thermal process is less than 33% of the A1-A3 total.
Note that these assessments are based on the average billet composition documented in the new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – a 47% prime, 53% recycled mix with the prime assumed to be the North American average as reported by the Aluminum Association.
Achieving significant reductions in the embodied carbon is most practically achieved by adjusting the billet mix – either increasing the recycled content and/or shifting the prime content towards prime produced from less carbon-intense energy sources.
EPD Participating Companies
Thank you to the following AEC member companies that contributed their data to the 2021/2022 AEC EPD project.