Greener Building With Composite

By GlasCurtain Inc. | Blog

July 4, 2013

Fibreglass composite framing offers a far more environmentally friendly build than aluminum.

But don’t take our word for it.

A comparative life cycle assessment of the two materials conducted by the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute clearly shows how choosing composite can markedly reduce your building’s upstream impact.

The Institute uses a science-based approach to examine the life cycles and impact of construction materials.

Their report, which you can download here, shows that composite has 40 percent less embodied energy than aluminum. That’s 164 MJ per metre, or enough energy to power a 100W light bulb for close to 19 days.

Each metre of composite also produces 18 kg less carbon dioxide than aluminum, and generates 40 to 50 percent less smog and acid rain, respectively. These reductions mean that for every metre of composite framing used in place of aluminum, you’re saving emissions equivalent to a standard car driving 69.7 kilometres.

While aluminum has been the preferred material for constructing curtain walls over the past 50 years, this report demonstrates the impact of producing even a small amount of framing. And while manufacturer’s try to off-set this impact by pointing to end of life recycling, in a typical building demolition, a lot of this material ends up in a landfill anyhow.

Considering that composite offers a significant environmental advantage and has the same strength and longevity as aluminum, the greener choice is obvious.

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