AEC Releases New White Papers on
Aluminum Extrusions in the Built Environment
Papers Cover Viruses & Bacteria and Building Occupant Health & Safety
August 5, 2020; Wauconda, Illinois – The Aluminum Extruders Council has released two new white papers on the "Aluminum Extrusions in the Built Environment" series intended to help building and construction professionals better understand the
advantages of and details relating to aluminum extrusions used in commercial construction applications. The two new papers, Aluminum Extrusions: Viruses and Bacteria and Aluminum Extrusions: Building Occupant Health and Safety, join the previously released Daylighting, Views, Health & Wellness: The Role of Extruded Aluminum Building Components, which are all available to download at www.aec.org/whitepapers.
During this time of extreme health concern, the material choices by specifiers may impact the spread
of viruses, bacteria and infectious diseases and therefore must carefully be considered. The white paper, Aluminum Extrusions:
Viruses and Bacteria, was developed to address concerns that have arisen related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. While research into SARS CoV2 (COVID-19) is still ongoing, information on the survival rates of similar viruses, as well
as bacteria, on aluminum and a variety of other surfaces is available. Research shows that the longevity of two known coronavirus (HCov) strains, 229E and OC43, is limited to just hours on aluminum compared to days on other material surfaces, including steel,
PVC, plastic, and glass, among others. In addition to the data indicating shorter viability of viruses and bacteria on aluminum, there are a variety of antimicrobial technologies that can be used in aluminum finishing processes that are believed
to instill antimicrobial benefits. The paper provides an overview of some of those anodizing and paint treatments.
The white paper, Aluminum Extrusions: Building Occupant Health and Safety, addresses
the ever-growing concern about toxic substances in building products: chemicals and compounds considered to be worst-in-class in terms of toxicity or health impacts, otherwise known as Red List materials. Avoiding Red List products is intended to
ensure that building occupant health is protected. This white paper explains that "across the array of commercial building product options, extruded aluminum offers building material specifiers a healthy and safe choice, especially when compared to
chemically treated or plastic-based materials."
Additionally, the paper addresses finishes and thermal insulating materials commonly used in architectural aluminum extrusion applications, and their relationship to the Red List. Aluminum extrusions are naturally free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and application
of liquid paint coatings used on some aluminum extrusions are subject to "low VOC" restrictions and standards, which are managed during application in the manufacturing facility and are not associated with off-gassing from cured, final product. Neither
polyamide nor polyurethane materials used in extruded aluminum thermal barrier products are considered toxic, nor are they on the Red List. An outline of some of the available product transparency tools to assist architects in selecting building materials
based on environmental considerations is also included in the paper.
The first white paper in the series, Daylighting, Views, Health & Wellness: The Role of Extruded Aluminum Building Components,
which was released in late 2019, explains how daylighting - the illumination of buildings by natural light - and the use of extruded aluminum building products can contribute to building occupant productivity, health and wellness.
All of these white papers, as well as other white papers covering additional topics, can be downloaded at www.aec.org/whitepapers.