The aluminum extrusion industry is ramping up its efforts toward product transparency.
The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) will develop industry-sanctioned Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to document the environmental performance of aluminum extrusions produced in the U.S. and Canada.
An EPD is an independently-verified document that speaks to the lifecycle environmental impact of products. They include information on the impact of raw material acquisition, energy use, emissions, and waste generation, among other environmental factors.
The Council currently has 11 of its members providing information on 33 separate production locations and more than 100 extrusion presses in the U.S. and Canada to compile the EPDs.
“With the amount of participation in this study as well as the depth covered, we’re giving the market the most current, comprehensive, and accurate data ever for extruded aluminum products,” says Jordan Aluminum Extrusions president Lewie Smith, who serves as chairperson of the AEC’s building and construction committee.
“In addition to the breadth of this study, we will also be providing previously unavailable details, as we will produce separate EPDs for both conventional extrusions and thermally-improved extrusions,” says Jeff Henderson, AEC director of operations. In both cases, he says, data will be provided for both mill-finish extrusions, as well as for painted and anodized product.
According to AEC, data collection for the project is well underway, and the two EPDs—for thermally improved and conventional extrusions—are expected to be released later this year. The council aims to complete the EPDs before October 31, the date after which LEED projects can no longer be registered under LEED 2009 and instead must use LEED v4.
Guy Charpentier, chairman of the AEC’s industrial promotion steering committee, says this is an “important step” for the extrusion industry. “Providing transparency regarding our environmental performance with extensive, third-party verified data is a key element of aluminum extrusions’ great sustainability story,” he says.
These efforts are consistent with many other sectors in the building products industry. EPDs are an increasingly hot topic among glass manufacturers and fabricators, and other aspects of the metal and aluminum industry have gotten in on the action. Multiple Metal Construction Association member companies joined forces last year to produce and EPD, and Peterson Aluminum took it a step further, releasing an EPD of its own last May.