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Sustainable design

5 building system trends

Aluminium systems, such as windows and curtain walls, have a great future in the construction industry, says Bernard Gilmont of European Aluminium. Shapes asked him to talk more about the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities.

Complete optimization

"The European Commission is studying an energy-labeling scheme for window products. I'm worried about that, since optimization of complete buildings is better for saving energy than a component-by-component approach."

Solar gain

"Orientation and climate matter. A south-facing window should let solar heat in and be shaded during the summer, while a north-facing window should be based on insulation needs. Winter comfort is key in northern Europe, summer comfort in the south. Aluminium solutions exist for all situations."

Endless recycling

"A major advantage of aluminium is its recyclability. It is recycled over and over without loss of performance, and that really matters for future generations."

More renovation

"Buildings account for 40 percent of Europe's energy consumption, but the annual renovation rate is only 1 percent. EU legislation and financial incentives should target 3 percent. The investment would be good for consumers and the environment, and would reduce EU dependency on energy imports."

Harmonized standards

"Technical performance standards are largely harmonized, but there's a jungle of environmental performance rating schemes from private and national bodies. We have European environmental standards, but, being voluntary, they are not driving harmonization yet."

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