From this section
1. What is the definition of sustainability and where can I find out more?
You can find a good introduction to sustainable building on the website of the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development:
It gives a detailed and accessible description of the three pillars of building sustainability: ecology, economy and social/cultural factors.
2. Are there different certification systems for buildings?
There are a large number of different certification systems worldwide. Many are only used in certain regions and have developed out of a variety of initiatives. The market-leading international systems are LEED, BREEAM and DGNB. For the domestic French market, HQE is the leading system.
The three main systems have different focuses. Convergence is not expected any time soon. Architects, developers and manufacturers are obliged to take into account the requirements of the relevant system during construction planning and implementation. Ultimately, the client chooses the certification system that is suitable for their building.
3. What requirements for façades and windows must be taken into consideration in certified buildings?
For all the systems, a high level of energy efficiency is always a positive. The systems specify their requirements under different criteria. Building certifiers and developers then implement the requirements in the performance specifications in a way that is specific to the building. As this process depends to a large extent on the building concept and the desired quality level, it is not possible to generalise. Experience shows that Schüco systems are very well suited to certified buildings.
4. Is any special documentation required?
Information on the environmental impact of products is increasingly required as additional documentation. Schüco provides the appropriate EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) via SchüCal for aluminium systems, and industry-standard sample EPDs for PVC-U. In particular for LEED, information is required about regional origins and the proportion of recycled material.
5. How should windows made of aluminium, PVC-U and wood be assessed in terms of sustainability?
At the end of a building envelope’s usage phase, dismantling and recycling are important. Wood is fundamentally recyclable, and window frames made of wood must be burned or disposed of after a building is dismantled. Old PVC-U windows have long been recycled by the Rewindo organisation and re-used for window profiles. For aluminium windows and façades, a powerful recycling organisation was set up in Germany in 2011 by certified recyclers under the umbrella of A/U/F. Old aluminium is used to make new, high-quality profiles as often as required and with a high degree of energy efficiency. Recycled aluminium is therefore a material, resource and energy store for future generations, which can be reused countless times by means of recycling without any reduction in quality or loss of its properties. Overall, the three materials are of almost equal ecological value for windows. PVC-U window systems have economic benefits, whereas aluminium systems have functional and design benefits.