The first major use of aluminum was in the construction of the Empire State Building in the 1930’s. Since then, aluminum has been recognized as both an energy efficient and sustainable building material, with 25 percent of all aluminum produced used in construction.
Here are three reasons why this versatile and strong material has become a building essential.
1. It’s Sustainable
In today’s aluminum building materials, the estimated recycled content is between 50 and 85 percent. Buildings at the end of life-cycles can have aluminum components recycled to reduce the impact on the environment. Aluminum is one of the few materials that can be recycled an infinite number of times with no change in strength or durability.
Aluminum is also extremely reflective, reflecting back 95 percent of light and reducing cooling costs. The inclusion of aluminum makes solar cells more efficient. In fact, including aluminum in structures helps building projects qualify for LEED green building status.
2. It’s Efficient
In a world where buildings are getting taller, aluminum is a material that reduces weight. Modern skyscrapers would not be possible without aluminum. An aluminum extrusion is half the weight of a steel extrusion of the same stiffness and is less likely to fracture under pressure. Structures made with aluminum are 35 to 65 percent lighter than steel structures and significantly lighter than those made with reinforced concrete.
Despite its lightness, aluminum is also strong. Aluminum extrusions can very easily support the weight of large glass spans, allowing more natural light to shine into
buildings. Aluminum’s durability means it can serve its purpose for decades, reducing replacement costs, so a building utilizing aluminum is strong, easier to construct, lightweight and less expensive.
3. It’s Resistant
Aluminum building materials are weatherproof, corrosion resistant and immune to UV rays. Aluminum maintains its properties in both hot and cold weather and protects buildings from cold temperatures up to four times better than 10-centimeter-thick brick. Over the years, aluminum has become a popular material for outdoor building components because of its resistance to the effects of nature.
As a result of its light weight, strength, resistance and uses in energy efficiency, aluminum has become one of the world’s favorite modern building materials.
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