Heating and cooling systems are one of the most essential components of modern living. For decades, HVAC technology has made life easier for people worldwide, serving as the backbone of any modern building. As we move further into the 21st century, one of our main objectives will be to ensure that those systems are as sustainable and efficient as possible. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the need to advance indoor air quality.
Now, with the early days of the pandemic behind us and with a renewed focus on sustainability, many suppliers are leaning on aluminum-backed solutions to minimize energy consumption and produce clean air through newer, more advanced HVAC units.
Building Sustainable HVAC Systems
In May 2021, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced an initiative to limit the negative environmental impact of HVAC systems. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm touted the program — known as the Initiative for Better Energy, Emissions, and Equity — as a way to combat HVAC carbon pollution. Around $8.5 million has already been divested to support the funding of new technologies that can advance building efficiency.
However, in order to build a sustainable, circular economy, government programs like this initiative will need to focus on materials that can be recycled and returned to supply chains in a usable form. This approach is what powers a circular economy, creating a pathway from primary resource, to product, to recycled materials — eventually creating new, usable goods for consumers and businesses.
Due to its ability to be infinitely recycled, aluminum products will be vital to achieving this goal. Aluminum HVAC systems built through the DOE’s initiative could largely be constructed from recycled aluminum that maintains the same properties as virgin, or primary, aluminum.
Nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced in the U.S. is still in use, with about 40% of the aluminum currently produced in the U.S. coming from secondary or recycled material. It’s worth noting that recycled aluminum also requires significantly less energy to make, improving the energy efficiency of primary aluminum production by a whopping 92%.
A New Era for Domestic Suppliers
Domestic suppliers like J.W. Aluminum, by nature, are going to have facilities much closer to their stateside customers, limiting emissions and reducing the overhead necessary to ship materials like aluminum—especially when compared to competitors overseas. Along with reduced emissions, sourcing domestically also provides a couple of less obvious bonuses. For one, managing a supply chain in domestic time zones can reduce lead times and help to mitigate supply chain disruptions.
The second bonus domestic suppliers can provide is only made possible due to aluminum’s recycling properties. Through programs that promote take back scrap and industrial waste reclamation, the aluminum that creates the next generation of heating and cooling systems can be gathered and repurposed domestically before it ever hits a landfill. With a smaller carbon footprint than comparable materials, aluminum has the potential to be the backbone of the circular economy.
In conjunction with new, eco-conscious HVAC technologies, aluminum is the perfect choice to improve energy efficiency while also reducing waste for HVAC clients. The HVAC systems we build now could play a large role in reducing carbon emissions and making a better world for future generations.
About JW Aluminum:
At the heart of American manufacturing for over 40 years, JW Aluminum produces infinitely recyclable aluminum sheet and foil used to make products essential to our everyday lives.
As the first aluminum rolled products producer to obtain GreenCircle’s Certified Environmental Facts multi-attribute certification, JW Aluminum provides transparent, externally verified environmental data to customers in the core markets, predominantly HVAC, supplied by its Russellville, Arkansas location.
The JW Aluminum team is committed to working safely every day to secure a safe and sustainable future for our teammates, customers, communities and ultimately, American manufacturing.