The idea of “building green” began as a grassroots initiative focused on increasing the efficiency of buildings and their use of energy, natural resources and materials.
Sustainable materials are a key element of green building. A sustainable material must be durable and long lasting. Copper and its alloys such as brass, bronze and nickel silver used for exterior applications can last for a hundred years or more, even in harsh environments. In addition, copper and its alloys are virtually 100% recyclable. Sustainability takes into account that, with the exception of solar and wind-based energies, natural resources are finite materials.
Although there is a limited amount of copper available to be mined and used, it is estimated that only a fraction of all known internal reserves have been mined. With this much copper still available and because copper has such a high level of recyclability, it can be considered a “renewable finite material”.
Architects Consider Durability of Brass, Bronze and Nickel Silver
Selecting materials based on durability is a great way to minimize environmental impact. Copper alloy building materials that have been in place for hundreds of years require little maintenance and still have a classic look without any wear. The environmental impact of building with a less durable material(s) means additional extraction costs, fabrication, transportation, installation and disposal.
Copper Alloys Help Projects Qualify for LEEDS
In an upcoming post we will break down some ways that brass, bronze and nickel silver extrusions can help meet LEEDS criteria for the design, construction and operation of “green” buildings. You can learn more about the U.S. Green Building Council and find out what it takes to be certified for LEED.
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