Each material for metal roof decks has its own benefits for the property owner. However, aluminum stands out because it is the material of choice for contractors and real estate investors seeking to go “green.”

building with metal roof panels

What Are the Environmental Benefits of Aluminum?

Aluminum is distinct because of its positive impact on the environment. Below are some of the benefits of the metal.

It Has a Very Long Service Life

Aluminum is resilient to several elements that could otherwise shorten the service life of other materials like steel and wood. The metal is resistant to insects, water, fire, and rust and will last longer in service. All the property owner needs to do is to wash the deck or roof panel periodically to remove any dust or stains accumulated.

Unsurprisingly, 85% of all aluminum metals produced in North America remain in service today. From a global perspective, nearly three-quarters of all aluminum produced since 1885 is still in use.

The Manufacturing Process Has a Low Carbon Footprint

Aluminum ingots and bars are manufactured through two sequential processes: the Bayer and Hall-Heorult processes.

The Bayer procedure crushes the bauxite ore into fine powder. The powder then goes into a grinding mill, combined with caustic soda, and heated to a slurry. This phase can consume 30 minutes to several hours. Once the slurry becomes ideal, the manufacturer transfers it to a settling tank to further remove impurities until only alumina crystals remain.

The crystals move to a reduction pot for the Hall-Heroult, or the smelting, process. This process uses 4-6 volts of direct current and up to 230 kiloamperes to remove oxygen from the melted crystals. The molten metal that results from the process is pure aluminum. This raw material can be cast into ingots and shipped to customers.

Although the process extensively uses electricity, it does not emit large amounts of carbon. In fact, aluminum manufacturing facilities account for only 2% of global emissions.

Aluminum Can Be Recycled

The main benefit of aluminum recycling is the reduction in energy consumption. According to the Aluminum Association, fabricators can save up to 92% off their energy expenses when they process recycled aluminum. Recycling also lessens the amount of bauxite ore that must be mined and used to create raw aluminum.

Recycling is closely observed in North America, with 12% of available aluminum being reused at some point.

Aluminum is Non-Toxic and Hypoallergenic

Aluminum is one of the safest metals on Earth. Its metal content does not include nickel, which can irritate the skin. Because of this, it’s possible to wear aluminum jewelry and not suffer allergies. However, some people do get allergic to aluminum. People who believe they’re allergic to aluminum or other metals should consult their doctor before purchasing metal jewelry or building metal roof panels and decks.

Because of these attributes, aluminum is an eco-friendly choice for decking. Homeowners and building contractors can earn Leadership in Energy, and Environmental Design (LEED) credits for using the metal as a decking material.

What Are LEED Credits?

The LEED program is a certification and rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). According to the USGBC, the program aims to standardize the design, construction, and operation of “green” buildings by awarding points to projects that meet its criteria.

The LEED program considers the project’s environmental impact and awards credits to buildings it deems to have contributed to the community’s well-being. The program’s overall goal is to spur a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, enhance biodiversity, promote sustainability, and safeguard communal and individual health.

The LEED V4.1 protocol also emphasizes efforts that reduce the project’s carbon footprint. These include using materials that are sustainable or recyclable, like aluminum.

What Can You Get from LEED Credits?

Two legislation submitted in the House and Senate could mean financial incentives for projects that pass LEED certification.

The first one is the Clean Energy for America Act in the Senate. Authored by Senator Ron Wyden and 24 other senators, the bill seeks to revamp the existing federal energy tax incentives on real estate that are energy-efficient.

The bill also seeks to add new tax credits for newly built residences that shift their energy consumption to clean or renewable sources. These include a credit of $2,500 for ENERGY STAR-certified homes and a $5,000 tax deduction for zero-energy compliant properties.

The second bill is the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now Act of 2021, pending in the US Congress. Also known as the GREEN Act of 2021, the proposed law seeks to extend several tax credits related to energy production and consumption. The bill also wants to introduce new credits for zero-emission heavy vehicles and environmental justice programs.

If passed, contractors and property owners will have more incentives to encourage their compliance with the LEED standards.

a professional with newly installed metal roof panels

Take a Look at Our Metal Roof Panels and Decks

We specialize in installing aluminum and other metal roof panels and decking. Feel free to take a look at our previous projects. If you need help, please contact us now.