Exlabesa Architecture proves aluminium can be green

Exlabesa Architecture proves aluminium can be green

With COP26 in the headlines, there’s more focus on climate change than ever – but can aluminium ever be sustainable? Carlos Negreira, Global Director at Exlabesa Architecture UK, argues that it can. 

At Exlabesa Architecture, we’re dedicated to offering products that are stylish, innovative, long-lasting – and sustainable. 

As an industry, and as a world, the challenge we face from climate change is huge. Developed countries around the globe have committed to radically reducing their carbon emissions between now and 2050 – and if they have any hope of achieving those targets, sectors like ours have a lot of work to do in the months and years ahead. 

That’s why we’ve sought to implement sustainability in every aspect of what we do in recent years. 

Probably the biggest step we’ve taken to reduce our carbon footprint is the construction of our recycling plants.  

Here, we take old material and use it to produce recycled aluminium billets. These are then used to extrude new aluminium profiles – and many years later, when they reach the end of their life, these profiles can in turn be recycled too. 

In effect, it’s allowing us to create aluminium with a virtually infinite lifespan. 

It’s taken a significant investment for us to reach this stage, but the process itself is simple. 

First, we sort the aluminium we want to recycle. Some of it comes from our own facilities, while some of it is sent to us by other businesses – our recycling facilities were primarily built to help Exlabesa become more sustainable, but we’re happy to help other businesses reduce their environmental impact too. 

Wherever the material has originated from, we classify it according to the alloys it contains, then we proceed to the smelting stage. The aluminium is cut or bent into a size small enough to fit into our smelting furnaces, and is then heated to around 750 degrees Celsius. 

Eventually, the aluminium will enter a liquid state, at which stage it gets cast into moulds, and is then made into new aluminium billets. 

Crucially, this doesn’t just allow us to reuse old aluminium rather than constantly having to make new material – recasting aluminium is significantly less harmful to the environment than making primary aluminium. In fact, it uses 95% less energy. 

What’s more, thanks to the tireless work of our aluminium experts, our recycled aluminium has a carbon footprint of just 3.67kg per kilo. That’s 76.9% less than the global average of 18kg. 

As a company, we’ve invested a huge amount of time, money and effort to reduce the environmental impact we have as a business. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve managed to achieve so far – but we also know that we, like thousands of other businesses around the world, need to do more. 

To help the world achieve the huge cuts in carbon emissions that are urgently needed, companies throughout construction will need to strive together for a greener future. At Exlabesa Architecture, we look forward to playing our part. 

For more information, please call 01302 762500