The discussion on climate change shows that the topic “sustainable construction” is gaining importance and it is particularly pertinent as the industry is responsible for about 20% of the CO2 emissions in the field of construction and living. Therefore it is worthwhile to take a closer look at preserving our resources, saving energy and avoiding emissions.

In this context, the use of the ecological material zinc also becomes more important. It is gained from zinc ore through the use of energy in an electrolysis technique. The resources known to humanity today of 3 400-million tons provide a zinc stock for a time period of roughly 700 years without taking the recycling material into account.

Refined zinc is also the source material for the high-quality Rheinzink alloy. In melting, casting or rolling Rheinzink, comparably little energy is needed due to zinc’s low melting point. The result is that the name Rheinzink stands for the most economical primary energy concentration in the field of construction metals.

Rheinzink is also scoring in the field of climate protection. Based on a square metre of Rheinzink-standing seam, the primary energy concentration compared to other roofing and cladding materials is three to eight times less. This is another aspect that – even when using a completely independent design – turns this natural material into a real alternative for sustainable construction.

The economical Rheinzink energy balance is also maintained within the material cycle after usage. In order to convert zinc scrap back into refined zinc, only 5% of the energy needed to manufacture refined zinc will be needed.

Rheinzink is naturally ecological. The ecological performance capacity of a material is evaluated in a so-called life-cycle assessment (LCA). Here material and energy flows, as well as potential effects on the environment in the course of the entire life cycle, are evaluated.

The result for Rheinzink is clear: the natural material’s contribution to the so-called impact categories (global warming potential, ozone-depletion potential, acidification potential, over-fertilisation potential and summer smog potential) is also low among metals used for construction.

The RHEINZINK energy data sheet:

•    Primary energy consumption*:  187,5 MJ/m² (standing seam cover, metal thickness  0,70mm).
•    CO2 emission: 3 478g/m² (standing seam cover, metal thickness 0,70mm).
•    Recycling energy demand: 5% of the demand for zinc manufacturing from ore.
•    Resources for over 700 years.  
•    Climate-protecting metal.  
•    Climate protection in action for over 40 years.

It should be noted that when referring to primary energy consumption in the above data, this is regarded as being energy that is naturally available in its existing energy forms or from energy sources in Germany.

Primary energy sources are, for example, fossil fuels (carbon, natural gas and crude oil), nuclear energy, but also renewable energies like the sun, wind and hydraulic power. When estimating the primary energy concentration of a product, not only the manufacturing process of the material is being classified, but also the energy expenses that arise from transportation as well as how many additives and lubricants are needed during the production process.

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