“Sustainable development means satisfying the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy theirs.” This phrase by Norwegian politician, Gro Harlem Brundtland, in 1987 during her tenure as chairwoman of the World Commission on Environment and Development of the United Nations, stimulated an increasing international preoccupation with sustainability.
“Ecological construction will continue to advance with more stringent standards and regulations being imposed in future,” notes Rheinzink’s Stephen Wilkinson.
He points out that Rheinzink, a material for roof, facade and roof drainage systems, has been uniting the sum of all positive ecological aspects for over 40 years already – the ecological balance of which is fully documented in the ECO product declaration according to DIN ISO 14025, type III.
“Rheinzink has a realistic durability of more than 75 years and does not need any maintenance or care during this time,” he says. “The material is 100% recyclable and unlike coated or other compound materials, it doesn’t need any preparation before it can be recycled.”
The refined zinc used to manufacture Rheinzink alloy is gained from zinc ore through an electrolysis technique and in melting, casting or rolling Rheinzink, comparably little energy is needed due to zinc’s low melting point. In fact, 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 economical energy balance is maintained within the material cycle even after usage. To convert zinc scrap back to refined zinc, only 5% of the energy needed to manufacture refined zinc is needed.*
Following a lifecycle assessment (LCA), Rheinzink’s contribution to the impact categories – global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, acidification potential, over-fertilization potential and summer smog potential – was found to be the lowest among all metals used for construction. This result is published in the “Documentation of the Environment Profiles of Metal Sheets” (PE International GmbH, Leinfelden-Echterdingen) and also documented by the German Federal Environment Agency.
Due to atmospheric influences, a protective, ultraviolet (UV)-resistant zinc patina (zinc carbonate) forms on the surface of the material, which guarantees longevity and timeless beauty. Over time the metal ions are washed away, however, at a corrosion rate of only 0,3 to 0,4µm per year, the concentration of zinc in the water running off the roof is similar to that in drinking water.
Designing with Rheinzink
“For more than 150 years, zinc has been used to cover roofs and facades and for decades, it has played an important role in international architecture in the form of the natural material, Rheinzink,” adds Wilkinson. “It is stable, maintenance-free and having been declared an environmentally friendly building product, continues to stand for the responsible use of resources.”
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*Source: PE International GmbH, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany, and the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
Caption main image: The façade of the Town Hall in Lochem, The Netherlands was clad in Rheinzink double standing seam.
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