Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility

Few building materials can claim as many positive environmental advantages as aluminum. It’s very elemental nature means that it is infinitely recyclable, with no loss in quality. It is estimated that 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today.

Recycled Content

Again, aluminum is the “poster child” metal in terms of recycling. Simply said, much of the raw material used in making new aluminum is old aluminum. This “new” aluminum stands up over time better than other metals. And at the end of its life cycle, it will again be recycled. Studies have shown that more than 90% of the aluminum used in commercial buildings is recycled during the demolition process.

As an integral part of the finish, the anodized “layer” is entirely recyclable, unlike paint and other applied finishes (and contains no Volatile Organic Compounds.)

The by-products of the anodizing process are also commonly recycled into everyday items like baking powder, cosmetics, newsprint and fertilizer.

LEED

Anodized aluminum products from Lorin can be a big asset in helping a building project qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points and certifications. Of the total categories used to determine LEED certification, there are three primary categories in which such products are evaluated, and Lorin anodized aluminum brings advantages in all of them.

Energy and Atmosphere. This aspect considers the improvement of building heating and cooling efficiency without negative environmental impact. Roofing and architectural exterior products from Lorin are excellent choices, meeting Energy Star standards for performance on these dimensions. (See below.)

Materials and Resources. The stunning appearance of anodized aluminum in exterior applications would, in the past, have presented challenges to the use of recycled content. But Lorin Industries is currently exploring development of a portfolio of products that will use 70% post-consumer scrap content, and earn LEED points in doing so. And as mentioned, the nearly total recyclability of all anodized aluminum products post-use provide a strong environmental case for LEED points.

Indoor Environmental Quality. The anodizing process itself is 100% natural, and will not negatively impact air quality. And in the finished product form, anodized aluminum emits no toxic fumes or gases like coated materials.


Energy Star

“Emittance” and “Solar Reflectance” are the two most important elements in assessing the energy-friendly performance of a construction material when used as a roof or exterior surface.

A material with a high emittance score has an ability to release absorbed heat. That means the heat is NOT directed into the facility beneath, contributing to discomfort and requiring compensatory cooling – which takes energy. Similarly, solar reflectance directs the hot summer sun away from the structure and reduces the roof temperature.

Lorin’s anodized aluminum portfolio includes products that perform superbly along these lines, and meet the requirements for Energy Star qualified roofing materials.

Lorin and the Environment

Lorin Industries is proud of the ways anodized aluminum contributes to responsible environmental stewardship. But we have taken additional actions as a responsible company to go even further. In recent years, Lorin has dramatically improved its ability to manage the waste stream, finding numerous ways to recycle materials previously regarded as waste.

Lorin uses new technology to recycle phosphoric and sulfuric acids used in the anodizing process. It even received a Director’s Variance from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to bring in and recover spent phosphoric acid from similar companies – a testament to our handling process.

Other materials used in the process are also recycled and not heading to the landfills. These include motor oils, oil filters, cleaning solvents, cardboard cores, fluorescent lights, as well as the aluminum itself, of course.

Finally, we continually look for ways to expand our list of recyclables in every aspect of our operation, from the skids used on our shop floor to the plastic and paper used in our office – even the magazines and catalogs from our reception area. A commitment is a commitment – and we keep ours.