In Australia, the building industry and the general public have become acutely aware of the environmental impact of construction activities. Procedia Engineering, a leading industry journal, noted in a 2017 article, “The Carbon Footprint of Australia’s Construction Sector”, that the construction sector is among the largest contributors to emissions in Australia, especially when direct and embodied emissions are factored together. 

The use of timber products as a popular construction material is especially problematic given the consequences of logging, high resource consumption, the emission of greenhouse gases during transport and manufacturing, and the propensity of wood composites to disintegrate at a rapid rate requiring frequent replacement. Furthermore, the need to regularly care for wood after installation, including ongoing painting and staining, can release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. While sustainable timber plantations exist, not all timber supplied in Australia comes from such sources, endangering natural habitats and wildlife.

Against this backdrop, there is growing industry and consumer demand for sustainable alternatives to timber. Designers and specifiers are seeking innovative building materials that help reduce the environmental impact of construction now and into the future, without compromising on functionality, style or performance. 

Offering structural performance and durability, as well as being easy to recycle, DECO’s range of finished aluminium building products offer environmentally-friendly and sustainable alternatives to timber, wood composites and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) building products while delivering high quality, premium aesthetics. For example, DecoWood is a textured wood grain powder coating for aluminium windows, doors, decking, fences, gates, cladding and other architectural features. Hard-wearing while delivering the organic warmth and character of natural timber, DecoWood finished products can be used as an alternative to real timber, resolving many of the environmental issues associated with timber building products. 

Aluminium is a sustainable building material that designers and specifiers should not overlook. Its long lifespan and superior strength ensures it remains suitable for its intended purpose long after initial installation, reducing the need for maintenance and replacement. Over 75% of aluminium ever produced is still in use today as aluminium can be recycled indefinitely without loss of performance. Recycling aluminium is a closed-loop, cradle-to-cradle process that requires minimal energy consumption. Furthermore, aluminium production is often powered by 100% hydro power, including refineries in Canada, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. According to the International Aluminium Institute, global emissions savings from aluminium recycling are on an upward trend, with savings doubling since 1990 and a further 50% increase forecast by 2020.

The sustainability profile of DECO products compares favourably to materials such as timber and plastic composites. Locally made, DECO products do not require the logging of trees and are made from recyclable material and offcuts. With high levels of durability, DECO’s aluminium building solutions minimise the energy consumption associated with maintenance, replacement and repair while also containing no VOCs, solvents or PVC.

DECO products deliver style, performance and functionality for a wide range of residential and commercial projects. Products such as DecoClad, DecoBatten, DecoDeck and DecoSlat cover a variety of architectural applications, meeting structural and non-combustibility requirements as required by the National Construction Code. DECO products are also lightweight and easy to install, minimising the labour and resources needed during installation. 

Fully owned and operated in Australia, DECO has been the leading manufacturer of finished aluminium products since 2004. In recent years, DECO has been at the forefront of sustainable operations by joining the Green Building Council of Australia, ensuring the company remains connected to the focal point of sustainability information in building and design.  With their innovative finishing technology, high standards of customer service and commitment to creating high quality, sustainable alternatives to traditional building products, DECO meets the evolving needs of the Australian building industry and the wider community.

For more information and to learn more about DecoWood and other DECO products, visit the DECO website.