This applies to the WICLINE 65/75 window range, the WICSTYLE 65/75 and WICSTYLE 77FP door ranges, and the WICTEC 50 façades.
From now on, products will not only be judged for their aesthetics or functionality, but also for their effect on the environment, on human health and for their re-usability in the circular economy. As an aluminium systems company, the subject has always played a key role at Sapa Building Systems.
The Cradle to Cradle Product Standard was initiated by the scientists Dr. Michael Braungart and William McDonough and was awarded by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco (USA).
The process leading to certification takes the designer and manufacturer through a process of continuous product optimisation towards a combination of ambitious aesthetics, technical quality and the highest ecological standards.
The C2C Product Certification presupposes a paradigm shift in thinking about how a product is designed, what’s in it, and where it goes after use. It is a guidance system for product designers and manufacturers, that leads to the creation of products which redefine quality, aesthetics and innovation.
In order to achieve one of the five levels of certification (from Basic up to Platinum), a product must satisfy the minimum requirements of the relevant level in all five categories. These categories are:
Material health: Taking into account the supply chain, an inventory is created of all constituents, so that an assessment can be made of their toxicological and ecotoxicological properties. The aim is to replace harmful substances with harmless ones.
Material reutilization: Products are designed in such a way that their components can be recycled as part of the technical cycle. With each level of certification, progress must be made in improving the materials cycle.
Renewable energy and carbon management: The aim of this criterion is that 100% of the energy for production must eventually come from renewable energy sources and (thus) production will be carbon neutral.
Water stewardship: The production process is designed in such a way that water is preserved as a precious resource for all living creatures. With each level of certification, progress must be made so that eventually all waste water achieves drinking-water quality.
Social fairness and biodiversity: The Company operations are managed in such a way that all people and ecosystems are treated with respect and that constant progress is made towards achieving an overall positive effect on people and on the planet.
"The Bronze Certificate is just the beginning..."
Philipp Müller, Head of Development at Sapa Building Systems GmbH (WICONA), explains the background to the Ulm-based aluminium systems company being awarded the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Bronze certificate.
What is the motivation behind WICONA achieving this C2C certification?
P. Müller: The C2C Product Standard is both a design concept and a reference framework, which is already becoming more widespread in European markets. It goes far beyond pure product certification and conventional labelling.
In conjunction with a Circular Economy, new business models are emerging, which promise an exciting future for the construction industry. Compared to the Green Building Label, C2C focuses more on the product and on the manufacturing company itself.
The opportunity for an aluminium systems company like Sapa Building Systems to influence the final certificate are more direct in this process and are also more directly assigned to their individual parameters.
We see Cradle to Cradle as the next step in more actively practising the "sustainability" guiding principle of the WICONA brand and at the same time in further identifying positive properties at product level.
Why was the C2C process carried out for a whole group of products?
P. Müller: The WICONA Unisys principle sets out closely-related product groups for certification. We wanted to keep our dealings with C2C simple; in other words, it had to be easy for all decision-makers and stakeholders to understand and to manage.
If WICONA is specified in a tender, the windows, doors and façades automatically satisfy the C2C product quality requirements. No one will need to worry any more about whether the correct product has been ordered and supplied.
What significance does the certificate have in the industry and beyond?
P. Müller: The C2C certificate complements and also offers and alternative to the well-known building certificates (DGNB, LEED, BREEAM, etc.) The criteria are directly related to the product, not to the entire building.
The responsibility of the product manufacturer, including the entire prefabrication and supply chain, comes into focus. The five C2C categories enable all aspects of the materials used, the manufacturing process – including the company's social responsibility and its impact for society – to be considered throughout the certification process.
Which are the properties that predetermine these products for certification?
P. Müller: Design for recycling; absolutely clear-cut separation of materials, so no composites; the use of recycled materials, e.g. the insulation bars which are worth mentioning here.
By using the UNISYS principle, the positive properties of components are virtually "bequeathed" to other products. Individual items are supplied by strategic suppliers, who support the C2C thinking and promote it through innovation.
What benefits will this certificate give WICONA and its partners for planning and metal construction?
P. Müller: C2C gives us as Sapa Building Systems a higher and qualified awareness in the international competitive environment and thus in the relevant invitations to tender. We can therefore position our WICONA brand as high-value and future-orientated.
From the planning perspective there is the advantage that, with the WICONA systems, the minimum C2C Bronze Standard can automatically always be applied, an advantage which also differentiates our fabricators from the competition and which they can bring into the conversation with their clients.
In theory, are even higher-value certifications (Silver or Gold) conceivable, and do you want to pursue that?
P. Müller: For WICONA, Bronze is just the first step, for which we strove for the BAU2017 presentation.