Zinc as an element
Zinc: a natural and essential element
Zinc is an abundant mineral in nature, being found in water, air, soil, and rocks. It is a natural component in the Earth’s crust, and therefore an integral part of our environment. It has an average natural concentration of 70mg/kg.
Zinc is essential to the survival of any living organism, including humans. Among other things, zinc is crucial for cell regeneration, growth activation, the development of vital organs and for the immune system.
Zinc: an abundant element
Zinc is the 24th most abundant element in the Earth´s crust and the world´s reserves are estimated at 2000 million tons. Nowadays 75% of zinc used in the combined total employed in building applications, the metallurgical industry, and for medicinal purposes comes from mines. In order to increase the efficiency of zinc extraction (and therefore preserve the reserves), the mining industry is investing in new techniques and technologies. The remainder comes from recycling or from the refinement of the secondary zinc.
Zinc as material
elZinc®: a long-lasting building material
Zinc is a ‘living’ material. It protects itself by naturally developing a patina during the early stages of its life that guards against corrosion, and gives it self-healing properties making it extremely durable. Its life span can exceed 100 years (depending on the surrounding atmosphere). In wall cladding applications, some experts estimate an expected life span of some 200 years. In order to guarantee the longevity of this versatile metal, correct installation of the zinc cladding is paramount.
elZinc®: sustainable material
The production process is less energy intensive than other metals used in construction. Indeed, it is significantly less than in aluminium or copper production:
|Aluminum 255 MJ/kg||482 MJ/m2 (0.7 mm thick aluminum)|
|Copper 70 MJ/kg||375 MJ/m2 (0.6 mm thick copper)|
|Zinc 51 MJ/kg||238 MJ/m2 (0.65 mm thick zinc)|
Source: ‘Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery’.
When used as the building envelope, it contributes to preserving natural resources through efficient use of energy, reducing greenhouse gases and minimizing the use of existing zinc ore reserves.
elZinc®: recyclable material
Zinc is 100% recyclable and can be reused a practically unlimited number of times, without the loss of any of its chemical or mechanical properties, or any loss in quality.
Note: All of the zinc by-products that are generated during the elZinc®production processes are recycled and reused, either in its own production processes or externally such as in the use of zinc oxide as a catalyst in the vulcanization of rubber.
Environmental Product Declaration
Building professionals that intend to carry out an evaluation of the environmental impact of their building need an Environmental Product Declaration of the products they plan to use, that recognizes and proves their environmental credentials.
To this end, elZinc®, in collaboration with the prestigious German Institute for Construction and Sustainability (IBU), has at your disposal Environmental Product Declarations “EPD” for elZinc® Natural and elZinc Slate®, calculated in accordance with the international standard ISO 14025.
Service life analysis
The analysis of the life cycle of elZinc® products is the cornerstone of this project, putting at the fingertips of experts who pursue a policy of sustainable building management all the relevant information regarding the environmental impact of its products, in a broken down and verifiable manner.
1. Global warming potential.
2. Ozone-depleting potential.
3. Acidification potential.
|1 Kg elZinc Natural||1 Kg elZinc Slate|
|GWP*||3.3 x 10-7||3.3 x 10-7|
|GWP*||2.3 x 10-2||2.3 x 10-2|
elZinc® is committed to environmental protection, promoting practices that ensure sustainable development by using the best, most advanced technologies available in the market to develop our business:
Our sustainable purchase policy and the location of our main supplier of raw materials located in the same region (Asturias) as our facilities ensure minimal environmental impact from transport.
The technology elZinc® employs in its production processes uses machinery and plant which are characterized for their low energy consumption and more efficient use of raw materials. If rolled zinc products generally require less energy than other building materials to produce, elZinc®’s technological efficiency further reduces this energy requirement, make it an even wiser choice.
|Global warming potential||(Kg CO2-Eq)||3.5 – 3.7|
|Ozone-depleting potential||(Kg CFC 11- Eq)||3.3 x 10-7|
|Acidification potential||(Kg SO2-EQ)||2.3 x 10-2|