What is sustainable aluminium, and why is it integral to Reynaers’ approach in promoting the green transition of buildings?
Sustainable aluminium, as utilized by Reynaers Aluminium, denotes a concerted effort to diminish the carbon footprint entailed in aluminium production, which is traditionally energy-intensive. Central to this initiative is utilizing what is available in terms of recycled aluminium — approximately 40% of the global supply — and complementing this with aluminium produced through renewable energy, referred to as low carbon aluminium content. This approach is executed through a four-pillar strategy involving the buildings themselves, shareholder education, operational adjustments, and product-level interventions. It is crucial not only from an environmental standpoint but also in fostering a culture of sustainable material usage among corporations, steering away from monopolizing recycled content, thereby encouraging a collaborative industry landscape working towards a common goal.
In delineating between sustainable and normal aluminium, the focus should remain on the sourcing and production processes. Despite the limited availability of recycled aluminium due to its long lifespan, Reynaers Aluminium commits to utilizing what is accessible, promoting a sustainable approach to building and design that is grounded in renewable energy utilization and fostering a lowered carbon footprint in the aluminium industry.
Could you elaborate on the applications of sustainable aluminium in your products, emphasizing their uniqueness and profitability in aiding the green transition of buildings?
Our company operates in the design and engineering sphere, creating solutions primarily for aluminium wielding envelopes. This work sees us partnering with an extensive supply chain to ensure the responsible sourcing of materials such as aluminium and polyamide, emphasizing recycled content where possible. A prime example would be our MasterPatio Lift and Slide system, which incorporates 100% recycled content polyamide strips, evidencing our commitment to promoting recycled materials in our products.
Furthermore, we have initiated educational pathways to guide architects and contractors in developing energy-efficient buildings, through the proper design of façades and the incorporation of passive ventilation systems, sun shading, and high insulation systems that are certifiable, example passive house projects.
This holistic approach to design, fostering collaboration with architects and developers, not only endorses our products but steers the industry towards a greener, sustainable future.
Once installed, do Reynaers Aluminium’ products continue to facilitate sustainability in buildings, perhaps through energy conservation? Could you provide examples of such products?
Absolutely, our products play a pivotal role in the life cycle of a building, aiding significantly in energy conservation. Buildings globally account for about 30% of energy usage, and Reynaers Aluminium has oriented its sustainability strategy to significantly reduce this figure by fostering education and providing high-insulation systems suitable for energy saving building such passive house projects. . We pursue a comprehensive approach that integrates efficient ventilation systems, facilitating passive building ventilation and sun shading, hence providing solutions that benefit the structure in its entirety.
Moreover, it is imperative for us to work closely with stakeholders including architects, developers, and contractors, enhancing their understanding and skills in designing buildings that are not only modern but also energy-efficient, thus embodying a vision of a sustainable future.
How do you view the role of policymakers and stakeholders in the global move towards greener buildings, and what strategies does Reynaers Aluminium employ to foster a collaborative and educational environment in this sector?
One of the prominent challenges in steering the industry toward sustainability is the evident gap in education and collaboration among different stakeholders including architects, general contractors, and mechanical designers. In many instances, policies are formulated without establishing vital links between the concerned parties, resulting in a lack of synchronized progress. To bridge this gap, we actively engage in dialogues and educational endeavors with various industry players to foster a united front in pursuing sustainable goals.
In the larger picture, Reynaers Aluminium observes a significant lapse in the commitment towards energy-efficient buildings in the national contributions under the Paris Agreement; a scenario we are keen on changing through continuous educational efforts and fostering collaboration across the supply chain, embracing a holistic approach to realize the targets set forth in the agreement, thereby promoting a sustainable future.
From your experience in North America, how does the sustainability landscape here compare to that in the EU?
In North America there is a rising awareness regarding climate change. Our North American team is supported by our HQ in Belgium and has a privilege to learn about this important topic and share this knowledge with our stakeholders and clients.
Do you focus your work only on new buildings, or do you also engage in retrofitting older structures?
We do retrofit existing structures. This approach is necessitated by current trends and the awareness that a significant portion of the buildings that will be standing in 2050 are already built. For instance, in Toronto, government regulations are stipulating that all buildings must adhere to certain performance metrics within a designated timeframe. This has opened up a substantial market for us in the realm of retrofit projects, indicating a shifting focus in the industry.
We see this as a pivotal point in our business strategy, adapting to emerging needs and contributing meaningfully to the ecological balance by transforming older buildings to be more energy-efficient and environmentally responsible.
What are your aspirations for Reynaers Aluminium' North American branch in the next couple of years?
As we approach our 60th anniversary in 2025, the vision is clear: we aim to be market leaders in sustainability. While being the largest in terms of turnover is not our goal, we are staunchly committed to being pioneers in sustainability. To us, leadership in this sphere means adhering to our core values and translating them robustly into the North American market, focusing not just on building products but also on enhancing the sustainability of our operations.
We are already on a determined path, backed by clearly outlined strategies in our first Sustainability Act, which delineates the roadmap to achieving significant milestones by 2030, following the guidelines set by the Paris Agreement. The Act is more than just words; it is a commitment to act substantiated by initiatives such as the Science-Based Targets, which offers a clear pathway to reducing our CO2 emissions significantly. This includes a host of measures ranging from utilizing thousands of photovoltaic panels at our headquarters, thereby being fully energy-sufficient since 2019, to encouraging our employees to commute using bicycles. By 2030, we envision being a benchmark in sustainability, showcasing a harmonious blend of growth and environmental responsibility, a testament to our pioneering approach in the market.
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