R ECYCL I N G
Eco-friendly aluminium: introducing Exlabesa’s
Clean Planet Initiative
Exlabesa Building Systems UK general manager, Paul Benn, explains how the company’s Clean Planet
initiative has seen it commit to achieving a greener, healthier world.
It might be hard to imagine now, but the
biggest threat we face as a society isn’t
coronavirus. It’s certainly caused huge
disruption, radically changed the way millions
of us live and work and become the top priority
for governments around the world.
But as vast as its impact has been, in the longterm,
it’s climate change that poses a far bigger
A HUGE TASK AND A BIG ROLE TO PLAY
In the last few years, it’s become more and more
obvious that we’re facing an environmental crisis.
In , the planet’s leading climate scientists
declared that we’ve got years to avoid global
temperatures rising above . degrees Celsius – at
which point droughts, floods, heat waves and
other extreme weather events will become much
Shortly after, Britain became the first
developed country in the world to declare a
climate emergency, and commit itself to reducing
carbon emissions to zero by .
It’s a huge task – now made even more
challenging by the disruption caused by
coronavirus. Like it or not, in fenestration and
construction more generally, we’ve got a big role
to play in ensuring that target gets met.
GOING GREEN – A NECESSITY
In Britain, construction causes % of our
carbon emissions, as well as % of landfill
waste. More broadly, the built environment is
responsible for between and % of total
energy use in developed countries, and %
of raw material use. It accounts for -% of
world carbon emissions.
That means that sectors like ours have a moral
responsibility to do whatever we can to reduce
that environmental impact – not just by designing
and supplying products that are as eco-friendly
as possible, and offer outstanding thermal
efficiency, but also by reducing our own carbon
footprints as individual businesses.
And given that governments, regulators, the
commercial sector and the public in general are
now more environmentally-conscious than ever,
being as green as possible is likely to become a
necessity if you want your business to succeed.
We already know that 6% of consumers
now consider sustainability when choosing
products – something that’s bound to filter up
from homeowners, to installers and then to
% of people claim they’re more likely to buy
a product that clearly displays its environmental
credentials on the packaging – and nearly threequarters
of millennials are willing to pay a higher
price for a product they think has a positive
% LESS CARBON EMISSIONS
That’s why, at Exlabesa, we’ve launched our
Clean Planet initiative.
Aluminium was already an excellent material
from an environmental perspective. It’s %
recyclable, and thanks to the invention of
polyamide thermal break technology, can offer
superb energy efficiency.
But we knew we could go further. We took
the decision to invest in our own aluminium
recycling facilities (located in Spain), and begin
manufacturing recycled aluminium billets,
significantly reducing our environmental impact.
Making one kilo of our recycled aluminium
produces .6kg of carbon. The global average
is 8kg per kilo, meaning we’re producing .6%
Our state-of-the-art smelting furnaces
produce these recycled billets, which we then
use to extrude new profile – which ultimately
results in aluminium with a virtually infinite
lifespan. What’s more, aluminium recasting uses
just % of the energy used in producing primary
A GREENER WORLD
For us, and for businesses like ours throughout
fenestration, there’s still a lot more work to do to
ensure the sector is as green as it can possibly be.
But we’re confident that with dedication
and perseverance, the glazing sector can and
will significantly cut its environmental impact,
and help the shift towards a cleaner, greener,