The Future Build

Masdar City Case Study - Estidama SM-10 Recycled Materials - Other Materials

Abu Dhabi Architects, Engineers and Contractors are looking increasingly at the environmental impact of their projects now that the Estidama Pearl Building System has been launched which is the region’s first sustainable development rating system, which will see buildings earn ‘pearls’, depending on their green credentials. Projects to be assessed under the Pearl Rating System, falls into three categories – buildings, communities or villas. Each assessment is split into design, construction and operational phases.

Recycling is the process whereby a valuable resource is returned to its original state with its full properties, for infinite reuse.  Recycling conserves natural resources by reducing the demand for raw materials, conserves energy and water since manufacturing with recycled materials requires less processing than extracting raw materials, reduces air and water pollution since manufacturing from recycled materials is generally a cleaner process and uses less energy, minimizes what is discarded, which maximizes limited landfill capacities and protects our health and the environment when harmful substances, which can be recycled, are removed from the waste stream and processed back into useable products. And in the case of aluminium, this process saves 95% of the energy needed to produce the virgin metal.

Masdar has specified in its design guidelines and sustainability summary for specification that products must comply with the recycled content, including pre-consumer and post-consumer percentages. Designers are expected to assess their designs for application for recycled products, check to see what recycled products and materials are locally available and then to work this into their design. Masdar strongly encourages designers to specifying recycled products, focusing on big ticket items especially those that contribute to multiple credits, to find a source and price regionally and to specify it early.One of Masdar City key performance indicators is to reduce the embodied carbon of construction materials used in the construction of its buildings by 30% compared to business as usual. Masdar worked with the supply chain to achieve the key performance indicator in the construction of the Masdar institute Project and Field Station Project.

Novelis' ff2ECOplus was selected as it is a high performance, pre-painted aluminum facade product that meet the requirements for building materials with the lowest possible carbon footprint, taking into account production and end-of-life recyclability.  Recycling saves 95 percent of the energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of primary aluminum.  Furthermore, ff2ECOplus, with its high strength and excellent formability, is extremely durable with low life-cycle maintenance requirements. As a result of this Novelis was honored in November 2010 with a Silver Gaia Award at the Big 5 international building and construction exhibition in Dubai. The award recognizes the environmental benefits of the company's pre-painted cladding sheet ff2ECOplus, which was developed to meet the low-carbon requirements of Masdar Institute project.

Gulf Extrusions was selected for its aluminum extrusions, manufactured from aluminum billet with 80% recycled content of which 30% is post-consumer material. The extrusions are high performance products, powder coated or anodized to meet the Masdar City requirements for building materials with the lowest possible carbon footprint, taking into account production and end-of-life recyclability.  The manufacturer’s product claims were verified through Life Cycle Assessments, Factory audits and product testing.

Is the credit worth the effort?

To achieve SM-10 “Recycled Materials – Other Materials” a product must use recycled materials with a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content, a minimum of 80% post industrial recycled content, or 50% agricultural waste by-product.  Projects may encounter a larger upfront cost, but have the potential to demonstrate their environmental values of recycle content and low carbon management.

The Future Build recommendation:

Always specify recycled content as per Estidama requirements and insist on the product having a life cycle assessment (LCA) to support their claims and avoid green washing.