Sustainability of aluminium in buildings

Christina Radlbeck, Eszter Dienes, Dimitris Kosteas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Increasing demand for adequate and sustainable performance with high-quality materials in public structures offers an opportunity for aluminium, possessing properties such as formability, functionality, flexibility, light weight, excellent recyclability and corrosion resistance, for innovative and impressive architectural solutions. Planners and authorities often hesitate to readily accept aluminium as a building material, mainly because of its high energy consumption during production and resulting higher initial cost. Higher initial purchasing material cost is per weight, and with good design a considerable weight reduction will be achieved. Further compensation is obtained by consideration of the total life cycle. Here, excellent durability, low if any maintenance cost, high scrap value and recycling with minimum energy input result in significant cost and energy savings. To demonstrate and realize the sustainable character of aluminium structures Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) procedures as well as appropriate design methods and tools have to be applied. Design plays a decisive role, as it requires a certain level of experience and knowledge about material behaviour and design standards. The objective is to combine LCCA, LCA and design by means of software tools, make these available to the engineering community and thus facilitate optimal structures early in the planning phase. A new research project is being carried out by the authors at the Section for Light Metal Structures and Fatigue of their University.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-224
Number of pages4
JournalStructural Engineering International: Journal of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004


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