Sustainable Building with RHEINZINK

Building in the country side with zinc roof and zinc facade, RHEINZINK standing seam in preweathered blue-grey
  • Natural, maintenance-free
  • Rainwater seepage harmless to finishes
  • 100% recyclable – no downcycling
  • 95% recycling rate
  • Low primary energy demand
  • Environmental Product Declaration as per ISO 14025, Type III
  • Environmental Management system as per ISO 14001
  • Protection from electrosmog
  • Social responsibility – Made in Germany

Objectives of Sustainable Building

The objective of sustainable building is first and foremost quality – in the broadest sense of the word. Sustainable buildings are thus economical, environmentally friendly and easy on resources. They offer occupants comfortable and healthy surroundings and fit in perfectly with their socio-cultural environment. This is how sustainable buildings retain their high value on a long-term basis – for investors, owners and users in equal measure.

What makes RHEINZINK so ideal for sustainable building?

RHEINZINK allows future demands to be satisfied without hesitation. For over 40 years this natural material for roofing, facades and roof drainage systems has united the sum of all ecological benefits. Its outstanding life cycle assessment is comprehensively documented in the Environmental Product Declaration according to ISO 14025, Type III.

A realistic lifespan of over 75 years is given for RHEINZINK products (source: study by TNO, Breda, NL). The surfaces od our classic PATINA LINE are not only extremely durable, but require no maintenance during their life. The attractive patina which forms in the course of natural weathering will protect the material for generations to come and even smooth out any scratches over time. This applies to both the RHEINZINK finishes bright rolled and preweathered.

With the lowest level of CO2 pollution during manufacture and thus also the lowest energy consumption during production, RHEINZINK can claim to be the "light" version among building metals. It can be recycled 100%. In addition, opting for RHEINZINK is in the interest of future generations: not merely because energy consumption for recycling accounts for just around 5% of the primary energy content, but also because the scrap metal can nowadays fetch as much as 60% of the price charged for high-grade zinc as a raw material. A further reduction in the energy demand for primary material is achieved thanks to the high recycling rate of over 95%. The scrap metal produced during manufacture at RHEINZINK's plant is melted down again without any need for pre-treatment.

Lasting value - With a lifespan extending over several generations, RHEINZINK is a material that sets standards.

Find out more about certification systems for sustainable buildings:

Certification Systems for Buildings

LEED®
BREEAM
German Sustainable Building Certificate

LEED® - Leadership in Environmental & Energy Design

The LEED system is currently the world's most widespread certification system. It was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and introduced to the USA in 1998. Evaluation is based on the following categories:

  • Category 1: Sustainable Sites (site and external environment)
  • Category 2: Water Efficiency (demand for water during use)
  • Category 3: Energy & Atmosphere (energy demand during use)
  • Category 4: Materials & Resources (materials used for construction)
  • Category 5: Indoor Environmental Quality (health and comfort)
  • Category 6: Innovation & Design Process


The criteria applied here are adjusted accordingly depending on whether a new or existing building or a renovation project is involved. The type of usage is also taken into account (e.g. offices, schools, housing etc.). The individual criteria are each rated with 1 point and certification awarded according to the levels Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. This depends on the total score. Not all categories need to be covered for the award of a high level. The certification system is used in this form all over the world although no adaptation to local conditions is made at present.

Building materials can merely contribute to fulfilment of the requirements in terms of individual criteria, i.e. for the award of a point. For example, the percentage of all materials used for construction that can be recycled is taken into consideration here.

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BREEAM - BRE Environmental Assessment Method

The BREEAM system has been on the market since 1990 and is thus the certification system that has been in existence longest. It was developed by the British company Building Research Establishment Ltd. (BRE). Like LEED, the criteria are based on the type of usage:

  • Category 1: Management (processes during planning and construction)
  • Category 2: Health & Well-being (health and comfort)
  • Category 3: Energy (energy demand during use)
  • Category 4: Transport (infrastructure within / to building)
  • Category 5: Water (demand for water during use)
  • Category 6: Materials (building materials used)
  • Category 7: Land Use (amount of space required)
  • Category 8: Pollution (pollutants emitted during use)


Unlike LEED, there is no 1-point rating system for all criteria. Weighting of the individual criteria is determined according to the contribution of the categories to the total score. A minimum quality for as many topics as possible is not however specified. The certification levels "Good", "Very Good", "Excellent" and "Outstanding" can be awarded.

To ensure international application of the scheme, country and/or region-specific systems have been developed to take account of special local features such as climate, differing standards and traditional construction methods.

For building materials BRE issues environmental profiles based on a life cycle assessment broken down into 13 categories, each with their own weighting. Comparison is however made at component level, i.e. assessment considers the overall design of the structure (roof/wall structure). Components are rated from E to A+ and can be called up in an online database. In Category 6: Materials points are awarded accordingly for components with the rating A.

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German Sustainable Building Certificate

This certification system has been created by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) in cooperation with Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development. Over 80 buildings in Germany and abroad have been certified since January 2009. With the "German Sustainable Building Certificate" the construction sector now has a certification system that allows an integrated approach to be taken to the entire life cycle of a building for the first time. All areas relevant to sustainable building are covered here. The assessment includes approximately 60 criteria from six topical categories, depending on the use profile of the building involved:

  • Ecological quality: Impact on local and global environment, use of resources
  • Economic quality: Life cycle costs and stability in terms of value
  • Social quality: Health and comfort, functionality and design
  • Technical qualityProcess quality: Planning, construction, operation
  • Site quality


The criteria can be weighted with use-specific factors to allow assessment to be adapted to different types of structures, with modified occupancy profiles being available e.g. when building new housing and administrative, industrial, educational or residential facilities.

If the requirements are properly satisfied, the building will be awarded the DGNB Certificate in the categories of Gold, Silver or Bronze. Unlike other certification systems a certain basic level needs to be achieved in each topical category for the relevant certificate to be awarded. Gold for example requires a score of at least 65% in all six topical categories. The objective here is to promote a uniformly high quality standard for buildings.

The life cycle assessment for the building can be seen as the key element in the category Ecological quality. It should already be ensured in the planning phase that attention is given to minimising the use of natural resources. The environmental impact of a building during the construction phase depends on aspects such as the manufacture, transport and processing of building products. Life cycle assessments are used to assess the ecological performance of a building material and in overall terms, of the entire building. A database of product characteristics has been developed to provide the basis for such life cycle assessments. It is however the product-related data given in the Environmental Product Declarations that is most important here. Only when a product does not have such a declaration is reference made to the database: in some cases it may contain values that are less favourable.

Buildings are designed for long-term occupancy. When selecting building products and designs, attention should therefore be paid to the issues of durability and the necessary maintenance. The costs and environmental impact of a building and associated renovation work during occupancy can be influenced in a positive manner by the choice of products.

This also applies to deconstruction: Whether a building material can be easily recycled without allowing harmful substances to escape during demolition are also decisive factors from an environmental perspective.

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RHEINZINK worldwide