Aluminum extrusions boast positive sustainability benefits due to their recyclability, recycled content, and geographically disbursed production network, which helps in reducing transport fuel and emissions. Many find aluminum extrusions’ greatest environmental benefits comes in use from the reduction in environmental impact realized from more efficient products.
Extrusions offer high strength and low weight, which aids in reducing the mass that must be moved, whether in a solar tracking system or a delivery truck. These mass reductions lead to downsizing of other components, improving reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions.
These benefits are particularly important in the transportation market, where the use of extrusions, and other aluminum components, is vital to achieving substantial gains in fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction. Whether for cars, trucks, or off-road equipment, vehicle manufacturers are increasingly turning to aluminum extrusions to improve efficiency.
For example, in cars, each pound of aluminum used in lieu of high strength steel:
- Saves the equivalent of 3.1 gallons of crude oil over the life of the vehicle
- Saves CO2 from day one, using recycled aluminum
Sustainable Solutions for Construction
As in transportation, aluminum extrusions are playing a major role in improving building efficiency. Commercial buildings account for 18% of all US energy consumption (vs. 28% for transportation). The use of improved window and façade systems, sunshades with integrated photovoltaic panels, light shelves and other extrusion -based building components can significantly reduce operating costs and energy usage over a building's life.
A recent project to replace the 6,400 windows in New York's Empire State Building with state-of-the-art thermal barrier windows is estimated to save over $750,000 per year in heating and cooling costs.