A new White Paper providing a guide to calculating the levels of embodied carbon in aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling systems has been published by Reynaers Aluminium.

This new report considers at what stage embodied carbon should be measured and provides an analysis of the contributing factors and methodologies for calculating embodied carbon as well as giving a wider view of the overall sustainability qualities of aluminium, say the authors.

Processing raw materials, manufacturing and transport are major contributors to embodied carbon but the white paper takes the longer view across the lifecycle of aluminium, breaking down the stages at which additional embodied carbon is calculated. 

In breaking down the stages at which embodied carbon is calculated, the white paper aims to support a holistic view to make an informed and transparent decision in the use of materials in sustainable building design – and sets out how this can be calculated reliably.   

Reynaers UK Technical Director John McComb said: “Embodied carbon is a major concern in building design. We are aware of the part that thermal efficiency plays in cutting emissions for buildings through energy savings and in direct and indirect emissions, but we need to target embodied carbon.

“By looking at where carbon is emitted throughout the life cycle of a product, we can also look at ways to continue to address that and reduce embodied carbon – but importantly how to accurately measure levels of embodied carbon through effective calculation. 

“An increased use of recycled aluminium to reduce reliance on raw materials considerably lowers the embodied carbon. This has already been evidenced and systems using a larger amount of recycled aluminium are available.”

“By using less fuel intensive methods in the early stages of the aluminium process, especially in extrusion, embodied carbon levels can be cut further. This would depend on the introduction of more alternative energy solutions.”

The White Paper can be accessed at https://www.reynaers.co.uk/sites/default/files/public/2023-10/Reynaers%20Embodied%20Carbon%20White%20Paper-%20SPREADS_LR.pdf

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