Zinc as an ecological construction material

by Ofentse Sefolo
Zinc as an ecological construction material

As the discussion on climate change continues to gain momentum, the topic of sustainable construction is becoming increasingly important. After all, the industry is responsible for about 20% of the carbon dioxide emissions in construction and living. Therefore, it is critical to take a closer look at how we can preserve our resources, save energy and reduce emissions.

In this context, the use of zinc is also becoming increasingly important. It is gained from zinc ore through the use of energy in an electrolysis technique. The current resources of 3 400 million tons provide a zinc stock for roughly 700 years, without taking recycling material into account.

Refined zinc is the source material for high-quality RHEINZINK alloy. In melting, casting or rolling RHEINZINK, relatively little energy is needed due to zinc’s low melting point. The name RHEINZINK stands for one of the most economical primary energy concentrations in the field of construction metals.

RHEINZINK also scores in the field of climate protection. Compared to other roofing and cladding materials, the primary energy concentration for RHEINZINK is three to eight times less based on a square metre of RHEINZINK-standing seam. Even when using a completely independent design, this natural material is turned into a real alternative for sustainable construction.

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

RHEINZINK is naturally ecological. The lifecycle assessment 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 one of the lowest among all metals used for construction.

The RHEINZINK energy data sheet:

• Primary energy consumption 187,5MJ/m² (standing seam cover, metal thickness 0,7mm).
• CO₂ emission: 3 478g/m² (standing seam cover, metal thickness 0,7mm).
• Recycling energy demand: 5% of the demand for zinc manufactured from ore.
• Resources for over 700 years.
• Climate-protecting metal.
• Climate protection in action for over 40 years.

* When referring to primary energy consumption, RHEINZINK refers to 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, crude oil) and nuclear energy, but also renewable energies such as 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 costs from transportation as well as how many additives and lubricants are needed during the production process.

Zinc is one of life’s components, and so is RHEINZINK!

Tel: 021 671 2600
Website: www.rheinzink.co.za
Email: info@rheinzink.co.za

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