Whichever metal you choose – cast aluminium, cast iron, fabricated steel or fabricated aluminium – metal represents the most sustainable environmentally-friendly building material. Metal rainwater drainage systems contribute significantly to the sustainable design concept, thanks to their high recycled content, recyclability and energy efficiency.

MGMA members offer a range of sustainable rainwater solutions:

Aluminium represents a sustainable, environmentally friendly building material; the life time value of aluminium is high, lasting in excess of 25 years or more. Eighty per cent of the aluminium rainwater systems already in use in the UK has been manufactured from recycled aluminium and aluminium is 100 per cent infinitely recyclable at the end of its life.

Cast iron
Cast iron is a popular choice for its traditional virtues of strength, reliability, versatility and sustainability. Cast iron rainwater goods are often manufactured from a mix of the following recycled materials; scrap iron, scrap steel pressings and scrap steel casting. The resultant cast iron products are themselves 100 per cent recyclable at the end of the product’s life cycle.

Galvanised steel represents a sustainable, environmentally friendly building material due to its longevity. Galvanised steel can be reused or recycled repeatedly without losing its qualities as a building material making it a sustainable choice for low carbon specification projects.

Environmental Product Declarations
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) report tells the life cycle story of a product in a single, comprehensive report. The EPD provides information about a product’s impact upon the environment, such as global warming potential, smog creation, ozone depletion and water pollution.

In the Building Research Establishment (BRE) description, an EPD is generated based on data obtained through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). An LCA is performed using a peer reviewed Product Category Rules document (PCR) in line with EN 15804 (the European Standard for the generation of EPD for construction products), ISO 14025, and other related international standards.

EPDs can be used as marketing material, and for the improvement of product manufacture, or process efficiency. They can also feed into whole building assessment schemes, other comparative tools, and building information modelling (BIM) CAD software to make comparisons and assess design options that improve a building’s environmental performance.

Zero Waste Construction
The construction sector – both buildings and infrastructure together – is the biggest producer by volume of waste in England. The overall reduction of waste, and the minimisation of waste to landfill is vital to improve material resource efficiency and will play a significant part in national carbon reduction.

Zero Avoidable Waste (ZAW) in construction means preventing waste being generated at every stage of a project’s lifecycle, from the manufacture of materials and products, the design, specification, procurement and assembly of buildings and infrastructure through to deconstruction. At the end of life, products, components and materials should be recovered at the highest possible level of the waste hierarchy, i.e., reused before being recycled, whilst ensuring minimal environmental impact.

An interactive Routemap has been prepared by the Green Construction Board (GCB), in collaboration with Defra and BEIS.  The Routemap aims to catalyse actions by all parts of the supply chain to reduce and ultimately eliminate all avoidable waste.  It identifies the action that everyone involved in the construction sector – both public and private – can take to help deliver a lower carbon, more efficient industry.

The ZAW Routemap Interactive Infographic which allows you to easily click on different sections and find context, guidance and references can be downloaded from the menu opposite.

The Construction Products Association (CPA) has produced a new set of Briefing Papers on sustainability issues – these are the first tranche in the topic areas of resources, waste and circular economy and can be downloaded from the menu opposite.